On Monday, Google updated their terms of service to specifically state that user content will be scanned for targeted advertising.
“Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”
The paragraph explicitly states that users of the Google platforms, by agreeing to their terms of service, are allowing the company to scan their content whether in transit or stored.
Google is currently facing a number of lawsuits against their scanning algorithms for Gmail. Plaintiffs believe that these systems violate federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws.
Google states that the “ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information.” This stance added to the newly clarified terms of service attempts to address the legal issues facing the company.
In March, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the current lawsuits against Google for scanning Gmail accounts cannot be combined into a single class-action lawsuit. The cases can move forward independently.