Menu
Judge classifies as class action an email scanning lawsuit against Yahoo

Judge classifies as class action an email scanning lawsuit against Yahoo

Plaintiffs allege that by scanning emails of people who don't use Yahoo Mail, the company violates federal and California wiretapping laws

Yahoo's new Mail, as pictured on Oct. 18, 2013.

Yahoo's new Mail, as pictured on Oct. 18, 2013.

A lawsuit that alleges Yahoo's email scanning practices are illegal can proceed as a class action complaint, a development that will shine the spotlight on the Yahoo Mail use of messages' content for advertising purposes.

Plaintiffs allege that emails sent to Yahoo Mail users by people who do not have Yahoo Mail accounts are scanned by Yahoo in violation of federal and California wiretapping laws.

In a decision Tuesday evening, Judge Lucy Koh said all U.S. residents who are not Yahoo Mail subscribers but who have sent emails to or received emails from a Yahoo Mail subscriber between Oct. 2, 2011, and now may sue the company.

California residents who are not Yahoo Mail subscribers but who have sent emails to or received emails from a Yahoo Mail subscriber between Oct. 2, 2012, and now may sue the company, according to the judge's filing in the U.S. district court in the northern district of California.

The plaintiffs, who filed for class certification on Feb. 5, allege Yahoo copies the entirety of emails, extracts keywords, and reviews and extracts links and attachments, in violation of the federal Stored Communications Act and California's Invasion of Privacy Act.

Yahoo, in its FAQ on Mail, says that its automated systems scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing messages to detect, among other things, certain keywords, partly to provide interest-based ads but also to detect viruses and malware.

The lawsuit alleges Yahoo provides no mechanism for non-Yahoo Mail users to opt out of Yahoo's scanning practices.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment.

In her decision, Judge Koh sought to distinguish the case from a previous and similar one over which she presided in 2014 in which she refused to grant class action status on behalf of Gmail and non-Gmail users, because it was too difficult to determine which users agreed to Google's scanning practices.

In Yahoo's case, plaintiffs seek injunctive relief requiring Yahoo to stop scanning the emails of non-Yahoo Mail users without their consent, and to identify everyone with whom Yahoo has shared or sold information or data collected from non-subscribers' emails, according to the court document.

Daniel Girard and Larry D. King, attorneys for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests to comment.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyinternetadvertisinglegalMailYahooInternet-based applications and servicesCivil lawsuits

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments