Wayne Plimmer, a citizen of British Columbia has filed a lawsuit against internet giant Google, claiming the search giant is violating his privacy.
While Google has been struggling over the years with claims of privacy violation from its users, the company is confronted to an attack on Gmail from a non-user.
Plimmer, who filed his case against the company's emailing service last week, argues that by scanning the contents of emails he sends Gmail users for targeted advertising, a practice that is allowed by users through the terms of service, Google is violating his privacy.
He is alleging that Gmail "intercepts, obtains and uses personal information it collections from emails sent to Gmail users," and his argument holds on the fact that, as he is not a Gmail user, he was never asked to accept and abide by any terms of services Gmail subjects its users to.
Plimmer who is also asking for $500 for breech of copyright per email, also argues the practice not only violates his privacy, it also breaks confidentiality agreements between two parties, such as doctors and patients, and journalists and sources.
Plimmer is not just suing for himself. The man is suing on behalf of anyone in British Columbia who may be subject to this issue.
The case has yet to have been approved, but if it is, it could put in question the practice of scanning emails, not just for advertising purposes, but also for detection of spam and viruses.
Plimmer is hoping to get an injunction against Google to stop the scanning of emails without the consent of both parties, and also to have his case recognised as a class action lawsuit.
Google has 35 days from 4 October to respond.