According to InformationWeek, Keith Dunbar is suing Google claiming that Gmail violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. The issue concerns the way that Gmail scans the content of e-mail messages to serve targeted ads. The complaint states:
Google intercepts and uses the information from non-Gmail account holders without regard to the privacy or proprietary nature of the information ... As result of Google's actions intercepting non-Gmail account holders' e-mail, Google obtains a monetary benefit without the consent of the Class members and without compensation to them.
Google won't comment on the compalint, but a spokesperson says:
Gmail-like most Web mail providers-uses automatic scanning to fight against spam and viruses. We use similar technology to show advertisements that help keep our services free. This is how Gmail has always worked.
Using Gmail does not violate the privacy of senders since no one other than the recipient is allowed to read their e-mail messages, and no one but the recipient sees targeted ads and related information.