A recent admission by Google that corporate users of Gmail might not have a right to privacy, has been received with shock and surprise.
In court papers, Google has claimed that Gmail users have no “reasonable expectation” that their communications (both ways) are confidential. The admission formed part of a statement in Google’s motion to dismiss a rapidly developing important legal challenge to its practice of reading Gmail users’ emails.
A USA lawsuit is claiming that Google reads private email messages that are sent to Gmail users without the consent of the senders. The worry is that some of the emails which are being compromised by Google are sent by non-Google users which means those third parties have never signed or agreed to Google’s terms and conditions and who do not have contractual relationship with Google.
A Court document field with Northern District of California, San Jose Division claims that Google is scanning emails so that the company can target ads to Gmail users which is a key component of the company’s business model. In the lawsuit papers, documents have been disclosed from an earlier court case where Google claimed in its defence that: “Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS [electronic communication service] provider in the course of delivery,” Non-Gmail users should be alarmed by this latest revelation because while Gmail users may have consented to having their emails scanned by Google by agreeing to the company’s terms of service, non-Gmail users have not provided consent.
The lawsuit against Google, which was filed in May 2013, alleges that the company “unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people’s private email messages.” Read the full Motion to Dismiss that contains what appears to be an admission by Google for breach of privacy sent and received through Gmail.