In the US, one of the remaining class action suits against ISPs who partnered ad targeting company NebuAd back in 2008 has been dismissed by an Illinois federal judge. Google, however, didn’t fare so well with an attempt to dismiss claims over its Gmail scanning activity.
Last Friday, US District Judge Edmond E. Chang ruled that ISP WideOpen West Finance LLC (now known as WOW) faces no liability under privacy laws in a class action over its partnership with NebuAd, which collected behavioral data from WOW customers. Chang dismissed the case with prejudice - meaning it cannot be reopened - on the grounds that WOW did not itself intercept any transmissions, and did not itself receive any of the information which it allowed NebuAd to collect.
The WOW decision follows dismissal of most of the other related ISP suits, earlier in the year - only the case against ISP Bresnan is still pending. NebuAd itself was sued in late 2008 and paid $2.4m to settle despite assurances that its system was anonymous and provided adequate opt-outs - it ceased trading the following May.
Google said it was ‘disappointed’ with the decision, and pointed out that ‘Automated scanning lets us provide Gmail users with security and spam protection, as well as great features like Priority Inbox’. The decision could also be bad news for rival Yahoo, which has also scanned users’ emails.