Lawsuit Accuses Google of Data-mining Students’ Email

By on March 18, 2014

A class action lawsuit was filed in California federal court against Google Inc. (GOOG) for allegedly mining student emails in their Gmail accounts in order to construct profiles for targeted advertising. 

The Gmail users allegedly affected include users of Google’s Apps for Education, a suite of tools used globally by K-12 schools and institutions of higher education throughout the world for free online applications such as email, calendar, word processing, spreadsheet and document sharing. 

Although Google claims that ads are off by default, the company acknowledged that it does automatically scan and index the emails of Apps for Education users. 

The lawsuit also accuses Google of scanning emails of non-Gmail users that sent email to Gmail users and violating the Wiretap Act which forbids the interfering with electronic communications.  For each day of violation for a two-year period beginning in May 2011, plaintiffs are seeking damages of $100 per day for each day for every individual who sent or received an email message using Google Apps for Education. 

In a separate action filed on or about March 7, Google was also sued for allowing minors to incur fee for in-app purchases from the Google Play store without a password. 

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