Google Defends Scanning Users’ Emails Because Humans Aren’t Actually Reading Anything

Google’s attorneys are having their say in court documents as part of the months-long battle over whether or not it’s okay for Google to read users’ private emails. The company is defending itself against a class action lawsuit filed in May that alleged the company “unlawfully opens up reads, and acquires the content of people’s private email messages.”

The lawsuit claims this practice of Google’s violates California privacy laws and federal wiretapping statutes, but the Internet giant has been pushing the “Hey, we’ve always done this defense.”

Now its lawyers are reiterating that point, saying the company only scans emails to help sell ads, which is totally legal. As such, Google filed court records before it heads to a federal hearing today seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, reports the Associated Press, saying that “all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing.”

And besides, it’s not like Google and its pals are all crowded around a computer gossiping about what you emailed your ex-boyfriend in a fit of nostalgia. The company explains that it just targets advertising based on words in messages in a fully automated process, “and no humans read your email…”

“This case involves Plaintiffs’ effort to criminalize ordinary business practices that have been part of Google’s free Gmail service since it was introduced nearly a decade ago,” argue company attorneys in their motion to dismiss the case.

But privacy advocates see it as a violation of privacy, arguing that most people feel like their email is a private place full of private thoughts.

Google argues for right to continue scanning Gmail [Associated Press]