Google Inc(NASDAQ:GOOG) has been accused of violating privacy in all kinds of awful ways, or at least that is what the online privacy proponents would have users believe. The last major privacy hurdle Google had to undergo entailed the Street View service offered by the company. Some investigations have started to close in that case. However, Google now has to deal with a fresh privacy lawsuit that aims directly at its email service.
As reported by Courthouse News, Google is being sued over Gmail as the plaintiffs in the case, namely Todd Harrington and Brad Scott, are accusing the search engine giant of infringing the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The law seems to protect the communications of citizens from being interrupted by third parties without their consent.
Google has been vehement while denying the claim, saying that Gmail does not infringe any laws as it is automated through machines. The law in question requires a person to be intercepting the communication to be violating the law. The plaintiffs argue back that Google’s machines can be considered a living entity for the purpose of the law. Google says that the claim made by the plaintiffs twists the state law in ways the California legislature never anticipated.
Google has filed a motion in court on Thursday to have the case dismissed. US district Judge Lucy Koh will hear the motion on 21st March, 2013. Google will probably succeed in having the case dismissed out as there are few issues with the plaintiff’s case. For one, the law only applies to the citizens of the state whereas the plaintiffs are from outside. More importantly, concepts of internet and email are never brought up even once in the law. The law takes into account phone wiretapping, not online inspection.