Google Message Scanning

Year:  2018
Result:  $2.2 million settlement

In Matera v. Google Inc., No. 5:15-cv-04062 (N.D. Cal.), Lieff Cabraser represented consumers in a digital privacy class action against Google Inc. over claims the popular Gmail service scanned outgoing user email messages to build marketing profiles and serve targeted ads.

The complaint alleged that Google routinely scanned email messages that were sent to non-Gmail users by Gmail subscribers, analyzed the content of those messages, and then shared that data with third parties in order to target ads to Gmail users, an invasion of privacy that violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

In February 2018, the Court granted final approval to a $2.2 million settlement of the action. Under the settlement, Google made business-related changes to its Gmail service, as part of which, Google will no longer scan the contents of emails sent to Gmail accounts for advertising purposes, whether during the transmission process or after the emails have been delivered to the Gmail user’s inbox. The proposed changes, which will not apply to scanning performed to prevent the spread of spam or malware, will run for at least three years.

Lawyers Dedicated to the Preservation of Privacy

Lieff Cabraser is committed to ensuring that the fundamental right to privacy is respected and endures even as technology evolves. Our attorneys possess extensive experience and the requisite technological background to successfully assert and litigate all manner of privacy claims. We represent individuals in precedent-setting cases impacting tens of millions of Americans against prominent technology, social media, and entertainment corporations for alleged violations of digital privacy rights and the failure to protect critically-sensitive employee data.

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