Google's Email Setback Hands Weapon To Privacy Plaintiffs

By Allison Grande (September 27, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT) -- A California federal judge on Thursday refused to toss a class action accusing Google Inc. of violating the federal wiretap statute by scanning users' emails to target advertising, providing plaintiffs that typically struggle to maintain privacy claims with a legal argument that could prove potent, attorneys say.

Google had tried to dispose of the plaintiffs' unauthorized interception claims by arguing that its reading of any emails would fall within an "ordinary course of business" exception under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Besides, it said, the plaintiffs had consented to Google's interception of the emails by signing up for its services.

But U.S. District...

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