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Pa. woman sues Google over Gmail privacy, ads

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm •  Published: December 10, 2012

At least one electronic privacy expert called it "a bit of a stretch" for Google to compare a search for advertising leads to rooting out spyware.

"People think when you send a message, communications companies can filter out spam and malware, and that's correct. But filtering out spam and malware is not the same as looking at the content of the email to (find) keywords for advertising purposes," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

"(What) if you were making a call on your Verizon cellphone, and you were talking to an Italian restaurant trying to make reservations for Friday and a Verizon agent jumped on the line and said, 'Oh, how about this place?'" Rotenberg said. "You're not supposed to be listening to my communications to try to sell me stuff — even if it's a better restaurant."

The Philadelphia plaintiff, Kristen Brinkman, does not have a Gmail account and never signed the company's acceptance policy, according to her Nov. 30 lawsuit, which has been assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody.

Google wants the various legal disputes resolved in northern California, where the first such lawsuit was filed in June. The area is also home base for Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.