Toronto Internet Lawyer, Gil Zvulony, spoke recently to CTV news about Google’s practice of scanning emails. Users of Gmail will notice that they see advertisements on their Gmail page. Google scans the content of the email in order to serve an advertisement that is relevant to the content of the email. For example, a Gmail user might see an ad for a new car if she is reading an email from a car dealer. While this practice has been in place for several years, a group in the US have taken Google to court over this practice claiming that it violates a person’s expectation that the email will be kept private.
Gil Zvulony’s opinion is that such a practice is legal in Canada and that the lawsuit in the US will likely fail. Google’s practice is done automatically, without any humans reading the email. It is done in connection with providing the service. Furthermore, Google, and most web based email services already scan emails for other purposes such as filtering spam or to make the email searchable.
You can see the video clip here: http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=232121&binId=1.810401&playlistPageNum=1