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Summary:

A court ruling last week may have opened the door for non Gmail users to sue Google over email scanning. Now, a similar lawsuit has hit Yahoo.

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Can big email providers scan your messages in order to serve you relevant advertising? Google and Yahoo have long assumed the answer is yes, which is one of the reasons the giant companies provide free email to millions of people.

Last week, however, a federal judge in California refused to throw out a class action case against Google, ruling that people who swapped messages with Gmail users — but do not use Gmail themselves — had never given the search giant permission to read their email.

As a result, the judge ruled that Google could not simply say that the Wiretap Act did not apply, and permitted the case to go forwards towards a trial.

Now, other class action lawyers have seized upon the ruling to file a new lawsuit against Yahoo on behalf of 100 million people who do not use Yahoo Mail but have communicated with someone who does. The suit, which seeks at least $5 million, claims that Yahoo violates the Wiretap Act and related California laws that forbid intercepting private communications.

Yahoo was hit with a similar lawsuit over email scanning in 2012, but court records show the parties voluntarily dismissed that suit early this year.

The recent Gmail ruling has reopened the scanning debate because of ambiguity over the “third party doctrine,” a rule that says people don’t have an expectation of privacy when they share records with a third party who then shares it with someone else. The recent cases also turn on an exception under the Wiretap Act that says interceptions aren’t illegal if they’re made in the ordinary course of business.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel has a good rundown of the legal issues, including the reaction of what he styles “privacy tweakers.’

Here’s the new complaint:

Yahoo Class Action

  1. While we are busy surfing Yahoo and Google for their alleged infringements, the NSA keeps merrily rolling along.

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    1. Google is 1,000,000,000 times more invasive of your privacy than the NSA. They have four tags on this very page as you read it. They want into the most intimate details of your life.

      The NSA just wants to know if you would like to blow something up. Or maybe shutdown the US government. In which case – I say good on them!

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  2. There is a cure you know opt out ,get a real life, read a book, go see friends. If you have use email , use your service providers system only. Exam. User@comcast/aliant/bell.com.net you know the old way. it still requires a warrant and just cause like yo Friday, October 4, 2013

    There is a cure you know opt out ,get a real life, read a book, go see friends. If you have use email , use your service providers system only. Exam. User@comcast/aliant/bell.com.net you know the old way. it still requires a warrant and just cause like your postal service.These are non public and the origonal data is held on your computor giving you legal copyright. Violation of which requires extrodinary circumstance,
    Which cannot easly deminished eula agreement.

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    1. some us who are real life business send sensitive business materiel though emails and have to use it .So what does reading a book have to do with sending timely material for our businesses?

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      1. Not everyone you send mail to has those accounts your talking about or will get them . So why should I have have to go through that with my clients just to protect myself There should be reasonable rights to privacy period>

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  3. I just had yahoo suspend my account because i sent politically charged opinions from my account and comments They straight out told me they where reading my emails from rocketmail so the lawyers might want to add that

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    1. Yahoo has said my account is terminated, won’t give me a reason other than violate tos. I have had this yahoo as my primary email for over 10 years. How did you get in contact?

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      1. I had Yahoo! do the same thing to me a number of times. I want to join the lawsuit against Yahoo! since they clearly violate their own TOS

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  4. And I recorded the conversation

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  5. what’s funny is that they are suing the NSA for just about the same reason, lol, how do they like when the people do it to them?

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  6. Gregory N. Moraros Thursday, December 19, 2013

    I currently use AT&T Yahoo as my internet and email provider. Sign me up for this class action lawsuit.

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