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E-mail Scans Prompt Lawsuit

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

August 17, 2011

A Massachusetts woman has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that Google violated state privacy laws by scanning e-mail messages, The Boston Globe reports. The company scans Gmail users' e-mails for keywords in order to present targeted ads. The suit claims that users--such as the plaintiff--who did not use Google's e-mail service but transmitted messages to Gmail users did not consent to having their e-mails scanned. The plaintiff's attorney says Massachusetts wiretapping laws forbid recording "any wire or oral communication" without all parties' consent. Google said it has used automated scanning technology from the beginning for targeted ads that "help to keep our services free." 
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