May 3, 2004
Co-Founder & President, Technology
Co-Founder & President, Products
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Dear Mr. Brin and Mr. Page:
Today, we wrote to California Attorney General Lockyer urging his office to investigate Google's Gmail service for violating California Penal Code §631. This section of the California Code prohibits any person from attempting to read or learn the contents or meaning of any message without the consent of all parties to the communication. For the reasons articulated in the attached letter, we believe that Gmail, in scanning non-subscribers' private communications for targeted marketing, violates this section of the code.
We again urge you to immediately suspend the Gmail service, because under this provision of the California Code, users of the Gmail service could be liable for both civil and criminal penalties. Additionally, § 637.2 authorizes private rights of action against those who violate § 631. It is within Google's discretion whether it wishes to risk violating California's wiretapping law, but the company should not subject Gmail account holders to those risks, especially where there is a potential for civil and criminal penalty.
Chris Jay Hoofnagle
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
World Privacy Forum
EPIC Privacy Page | EPIC Home Page
Last Updated: May 3, 2004
Page URL: http://www.epic.org/privacy/gmail/google5.3.04.html