Google has implemented some features into Gmail that scan your email. The company mentions that scanning you email is necessary in order to provide beneficial features like spam prevention, but not everyone is onboard with the idea.
A class-action lawsuit was brought against Google recently over the use of automated email scanning. Users felt that Google’s terms of service were unclear, at best, in explaining to users that their email would be scanned and what will happen with all of that information. Google immediately asked the U.S federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit stating that the automated email scanning process is fully disclosed to all Gmail users.
However, the judge did not dismiss the case and actually ruled yesterday that Google’s terms of service and privacy policies do not clearly state that they are intercepting user emails and profiling them. Google did try to defend it’s actions by stating that users are giving “implied consent” when signing up for an email service, but that defense didn’t hold. This is obviously going to be a problem for Google moving forward as they implement more features that depend on scanning email content. Google will also need to draw up a more explicit version of their terms for Gmail users.
On the other side of ruling, we see a big win for online privacy, which is quickly disappearing in a more and more transparent digital world. While many understand the benefits of allowing such information to be collected, not every wants to consent, and even those who would consent would still like to know how their information is being collected and used.
The ruling is available online in PDF format for you to read.