Explosive Lawsuit: Google Data-Mining Student E-mails

By Jesse Maes|April 13, 2014Uncategorized|

Education Week, a non-profit source for education news, published in March of this year a startling article on Google’s recent acknowledgement of the data-mining in student e-mail accounts.

The online services provider admitted in the recent lawsuit against it that Google accounts were data-mined for the purposes of advertisement relevancy and profiling.

Kyle C. Wong, an attorney employed by the corporation for defense in the lawsuit, stated in 2013 the reasons for data-mining,

“Google’s free, advertising-supported email service, Gmail, automatically scans the
content of email messages sent to and from Gmail users’ accounts. This automated scanning
serves several functions, such as spam filtering, virus detection, inbox organization, and serving
advertisements that are targeted to the content of the Gmail users’ emails…plaintiffs allege that Google’s automated scanning violates federal and state wiretapping laws because Google has not obtained non-Gmail users’ consent to this scanning.” (Kyle C. Wong, DECLARATION OF KYLE C. WONG IN SUPPORT OF GOOGLE INC.’S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION, pg. 1, para. 2, line 6, 2013)

PCC uses the Gmail system, which is required of all students and staff.  Note that Google’s response to the lawsuit, by their attorney Kyle C. Wong includes a statement “Many colleges and universities contract with Google to provide Google Apps, a suite of integrated Google products that includes Gmail, to their students or other end users…these universities have a contractual obligation to obtain their students’ and end users’ consent to Google’s automated scanning. ”  (Paragraph 85 of the response, the second document in the website linked above.)  


Education Week covered this disturbing acknowledgement in their March 26th article, Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages” and is now watching the volatile situation carefully. 

The Bridge will continue to monitor the case regarding whether or not the PCC e-mail accounts facilitated by Google are being actively data-mined. 


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