Feeds

Gmail data-mining lawsuits fail to get class action status

Claims from schools, biz, individuals can't be borged – judge

New hybrid storage solutions

Google has made its job of defeating a series of lawsuits over the privacy of its Gmail service much easier now that the judge has agreed that the cases can't be combined into a class action lawsuit.

US District Judge Lucy Koh said that the claims from several sources that Gmail was scanning their messages to build up account profiles and target users with ads were too dissimilar to allow them to be added up into one single lawsuit.

Much of the problem lay in the different types of users that could be affected by Google's alleged privacy violators, including Gmail users, businesses schools and ISPs which use Google Apps and are on Gmail – and even those people who received email from Gmail accounts but don't have Gmail themselves.

Because different users received different levels of access to privacy policies and terms of service, it becomes difficult to figure out which of them weren't adequately informed of Google's practices if they were all in one lawsuit.

"The question of whether class members have consented to the alleged interceptions has been central to this case since its inception," Judge Koh wrote in her ruling. "Specifically, the issue of whether email users consented to the alleged interceptions was at issue in all rounds of briefing on motions to dismiss, all three rounds of briefing on class certification, and the briefing on the motion for leave to amend.

"The court finds that individual issues of consent are likely to predominate over any common issues, and that accordingly, class certification would be inappropriate."

The decision is a blow to the complainants in the separate cases as class action suits can ask for greater damages and therefore have more power to force a settlement because of the bigger risk of defending against them before a jury. Individual plaintiffs and smaller educational facilities and companies will also have a hard time coming up with the cash to pay for an expensive case against Google's gaggle of lawyers. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.