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Trillions sought in Gmail Class-action lawsuit

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The Digital Producer at the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Eric Van Susteren, states that "plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Google Inc. want the company to pay $100 per day to each of the email users whose accounts were allegedly improperly scanned by the company over a 5-year period."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "the case would seek damages for anyone who sent or received a message from Google's Gmail during that time, meaning Google would have to pay trillions in damages based on the plaintiffs' claims."

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said Thursday "the plaintiffs face 'a very steep hurdle' to prove that the case should proceed as a class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs accuse Google of mining emails for user data in order to use them for profit."

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Google said " if the case is allowed to proceed as class-action it will 'indiscriminately amass together virtually everyone in the United States with a non-Gmail e-mail account, along with large groups of the over 400 million people who use Gmail and Google Apps.' "

Google further stated that ascertaining the users who were impacted would be "a herculean task beyond the resources of the court and parties," according to the Chronicle.

"Only 10 to 20 percent of all cases filed as class-actions are allowed to go forward, the report notes. Koh is hearing similar complaints brought against Yahoo Inc and LinkedIn Corp. Other tech companies including Facebook Inc. have faced lawsuits for their use of users' data to target advertising, a technique that made $40 billion in the U.S. last year," according to Van Susteren.

Eric Van Susteren is the Digital Producer at the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

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