Google Settles Non-User E-Mail Scanning Class Suit

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By Jimmy H. Koo

Nov. 29 — Alphabet Inc.'s Google agreed to settle consumer class claims that it illegally scanned and stored content of non-user e-mails for advertising purposes without permission ( Matera v. Google, Inc. , N.D. Cal., No. 5:15-cv-04062, order staying proceedings 11/28/16 ).

Judge Lucy H. Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Nov. 28 stayed the proceedings and ordered plaintiff Daniel Matera to file a motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement by Dec. 28.

The undisclosed settlement resolves class claims that Google violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by scanning, analyzing and cataloging non-Google users’ e-mails without notice. Class plaintiffs also alleged that Google didn’t have a policy of obtaining non-users’ consent or notifying non-users about its e-mail scanning practice.

Consumer-facing companies, including Google, need to have detailed and transparent privacy policies to avoid this kind of litigation.

Alphabet is the world’s second largest technology company with a $530.92 billion market capitalization, Bloomberg data show.

Cooley LLP represents Google. Gallo LLP, Carney Bates & Pulliam PLLC and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP represent the putative class.

Attorneys for Google and the class didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s e-mail requests for comments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jimmy H. Koo in Washington at jkoo@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

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