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Google Sued for Scanning Emails
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Summary: Two years after admitting that emails were scanned through the Google’s Apps for Education, four UC Berkeley students and alumni are suing the company for violating their privacy.

Nearly two years ago Google was caught scanning emails through Apps for Education. Now four UC Berkeley students and alumni are suing Google Inc. for the data mining, stating UC Berkeley was targeted.


In 2014, nine plaintiffs first alerted others that Google was collecting information to be used for advertising purposes without the permission of the users. The lawsuit filed by Teddey Xiao, Shannon Mehaffey, Ryan Corley, and William Dormann alleges that Google used the Apps for Education, which includes Google Drive and Google Mail to scan emails between 2012 and 2014.

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The lawsuit claims that Google violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The act is a federal statute that protects electronic communications in storage and transit. Google admitted in a 2014 post that emails through Apps for Education had been scanned, serving as the basis for this current lawsuit. They are seeking up to $10,000 in damages each.

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Google avoided charges in 2014 when they were able to produce evidence that some users has consented. The judge at that time, Lucy Koh, ruled it would be impossible to know which users had consented to Google’s privacy policies so a class action lawsuit would not be allowed. This did allow for small groups to claim wiretapping violations.

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Google disabled ads scanning in Apps for Education on April 30, 2014. The contract they had with UC Berkeley did not give consent for collecting data. The school’s statement goes, “The agreement that UCB utilizes for our Google Apps for Education Service does not allow for Google’s use of our data for any purposes other than to fulfill its obligations to deliver the service to us under our agreement.”




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