Serving up advertisements can be tricky business, and depending on how it is achieved, could land companies in hot water. Such was the case with Google earlier this year over issues with email scanning, something that had prompted it to say that emails sent to Gmail addresses had no expectation of privacy. Following a judge’s ruling that a case against Google could go forward, Yahoo has found itself hit with a lawsuit over similar actions.
The issue involves the email service in question scanning emails in order to acquire information allowing it to display advertisements relevant to the user. In returns for the advertisements, the email service is free, and everyone is allegedly happy. The problem is that not everyone appreciates such email scanning, and whether such business activities are covered by the “third party doctrine” has been brought into legal question.
Says the class action lawsuit: “This class action is brought against Yahoo! for its unlawful, wrongful, and intentional reading and/or learning of the contents and/or meaning of Plantiffs’ and Class Members’ communications and, in the alternative, eavesdropping upon or recording Plantiffs’ and Class Members’ communications, in violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”).”
The lawsuit against Yahoo is seeking a minimum of $5 million, and represents more than 100 million individuals who have sent messages to Yahoo email addresses, meaning they haven’t agreed to the company’s policies and terms and as such have not agreed to its data scanning methods. In addition to the California lawsuit specified above, the lawsuit also says Yahoo has violated the Wiretap Act.