Free Webmail May be Coming to an End as Yahoo! is Sued for Scanning eMails

04 October 2013 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog

In the wake of the Google class action for scanning gmail and violating the Federal Wiretap Act, a new class action suit was filed against Yahoo! for “…unlawful, wrongful, and intentional reading and/or learning of the contents.” The class action was filed by John Kevranian and Tammy Zapata on behalf of Yahoo! email users on October 2, 2013 in the US District Court in the Northern District of California based on claims of:

...eavesdropping upon or recording Plaintiffs’ and Class Members’ communications, in violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”), Cal. Penal Code § 630, et seq., and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (“ECPA”) [Federal Wiretap Act]

Specifically the lawsuit alleges that Yahoo!:

…intentionally and as part of a common practice, reads, scans, processes, copies, acquires content from, makes copies of content from, creates or gathers data and information from the content of e-mails. Yahoo!’s practice of intercepting the content of e-mails, as described above, includes any and all e-mails sent by Plaintiffs and Class Members from non-Yahoo! e-mail accounts or platforms to Yahoo! Mail recipients. Yahoo! performs these actions in order to read, attempt to read, understand, eavesdrop upon, intercept, or to learn the content or meaning of the e-mails. Further, Yahoo! makes copies or records all or part of e-mails sent by Plaintiffs and Class Members to Yahoo! Mail recipients.

If either Google or Yahoo! lose one of these lawsuits free webmail may end, or more likely the laws may change to permit free webmail services to scan email.

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