Google Gmail is still in the Privacy Watchdog doghouse with Privacy International filing complaints with privacy and data-protection regulators in 17 countries in Europe, Canada and Australia. Complaints had already been filed in Great Britain.
“Privacy International alleges that the Gmail service violates privacy law, both in Europe and in other countries. The complaint identifies a wide range of possible breaches of European Union law,” director Simon Davies told Reuters News.
The complaints against Google’s GMail and its use of AdWords Contextual Advertising to show text ads targeted to actual email content may have driven Google to reconsider the advertising format used to fund the 1 GB of storage space used in the new Google free email service.
Last week, California State Senator Liz Figueroa sent a letter to Google, urging them to discard a plan to scan customer emails for content, and insert ads related to the subject matter of the private conversations. The letter was the first step in drafting legislation that would prevent Google or any other company from examining the content of email in order to serve relevant advertising.
After a week of heated complaints and news stories before the launch of Google GMail, Google spokesman David Krane told CNet that “Google plans to listen closely to the responses of test users and other interested parties during a three- to six-month test period.” Krane added that Google may make changes based on the recommendations it receives, but it hasn’t yet made any definitive decisions.
Privacy International said these and other terms breach European privacy laws which are stricter than United States privacy laws.
Privacy International filed the complaints in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Austria, Australia and Canada, and also with the European Commission and the Article 29 Data Protection Working Group.