There is no denying the power of the Google AdSense Advertising Network. Interest-Based Advertising, often known by its more modest name, “behavior targeting,” gives advertisers a way to deliver ads to users who have shown interest in related items.

Google tracks your online movements threw almost everything

  • Droid
  • Mobile Apps
  • Chrome
  • YouTube
  • Google Docs

Pretty much anything Google creates collects tracking data and builds a collection of “interests” based on which websites you visit. For business owners, bloggers, internet marketers, and other online business analytical data is vital to daily operations and useful in SEO ranking.

Google does create an advertising program based on your Gmail account. But a new lawsuit targets Google for reading e-mails to target ads. But the issue isn’t that Google is reading e-mails from registered users; rather, the company is using e-mails sent from other services to Google users to target ads as well.

Google does not hide the fact they use email content to serve context-based ads to its Gmail users. Gmail users agree in the terms of service which explicitly states that users’ e-mail content determines what ads they see.

The lawsuit is on behalf of “all persons in the province of British Columbia who have sent email to a Gmail account” and demands statutory damages for breach of copyright of $500 per e-mail that Google has used for ads. The lawsuit also seeks an injunction against Google’s use of e-mails going forward.

Being a non-Gmail user, you never agreed to the terms of service, so the legality of what Google is doing seems murky. I am not sure how this will stand in court. In this case if you know Gmail is doing this do not send to Gmail accounts. The other issue is Google hosts services for business, government and state entities. So are there terms of service different? This is something we will watch closely to see how it unfolds.