Four students attending the University of California, Berkeley, sued Google last week alleging that it violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by scanning and mining their emails in order to create advertising profiles after telling the university that emails would be private. The lawsuit claims that Google told Berkeley and other colleges and universities that if the ads were turned off in the Apps for Education account, then the users’ emails and personal content would not be scanned for targeted ad purposes. According to the suit, despite this assurance to Berkeley and the other colleges and universities, Google scanned the emails between November 2010 and April 2014 specifically to target the users with advertisements.
The suit further alleges that because of Google’s representations to the colleges and universities, Berkeley assured students and employees who used Apps for Education that their information would be private, which was not true.
The students are requesting that Google purge their data, and seek damages of $10,000 each or $100 a day pursuant to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.