With regards to Google, the sultan of search updated its terms of service (ToS) to make clear that it looks at and analyzes user content and email so that it can offer up ads that might be of more interest, custom search results, and other benefits.
"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 protection," Google explains in a blog post. "The analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored."
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The timing of Google's updated ToS comes after a class action lawsuit accused the company's email scanning of running afoul of wiretap laws. A judge denied the class action status last month, saying that the issue of consent is too different between the parties that came together to form the suit.
"The Court finds that individual issues of consent are likely to predominate over any common issues, and that accordingly, class certification would be inappropriate," Judge Lucy Koh wrote.
Users could still sue Google individually, but the cost of going that route would be an expensive one.