Gmail user files class action for invasion of privacy

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Mar. 16, 2011, 7:31am

TYLER - Google is facing a class action that accuses the company of invading the privacy of people who use its Gmail by scanning emails for advertising opportunities.

Kelly Michaels, individually and representative of a class of similarly situated persons, filed suit against Google Inc. on March 8 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.

The class action accuses Google of invading the privacy of its users by scanning and capturing the contents of every email sent and received through Gmail in an effort to target advertising campaigns.

Michaels argues that Google does not inform users that it regularly and routinely scans, captures and disseminates the content of every email sent through Gmail. The suit states that content is analyzed to derive the concepts of the email and then, based on identifying keywords, Google targets the user with specific advertisements.

"Google derives income from Gmail by marketing their ability to target advertisements to individual Gmail users based on the scan of such users' email and the concepts derived from the analysis of users' email contents," the lawsuit states.

Google is accused of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, violating Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code regarding electronic communications, violating the Texas Penal Code regarding electronic communications, invasion of privacy and fraud.

The proposed class is asking the court for a permanent injunction against Google; for an order requiring Google to pay $100 a day for each violation or $10,000, whichever is greater; an award of $10,000 for each violation of Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code; $100 a day up to $1,000 for violation of Texas Penal Codes and for an award of punitive damages, mental anguish, court costs and attorneys' fees.

Michaels is represented by Eric H. Findlay and Brian Craft of Findlay Craft in Tyler.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:11-cv-00107

More News