A judge in California made a ruling against Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), and opened up a path for lawsuits against the company on the grounds of email spying.
The Judge gave people who sent or received emails using Yahoo from 2 October 2011 the consent to sue the company collectively, thus giving rise to a class action status lawsuit. The lawsuit will thus involve more than 1 million people. According to reports, the accusations were brought forward, citing that Yahoo used the information collected from the supposed spying to adjust its advertising income.
Subscribers of Yahoo’s email service claimed that the company went through their emails, including attachments with the aim of targeting their advertisements to millions of its subscribers. In 2014, most of the company’s revenue was generated by Yahoo’s display and search advertising.
The California judge also allowed a group of non-yahoo account holders to sue the company for privacy violation since the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2012. The plaintiffs who sought to take action against the company requested an injunction to stop the company from spying on people’s emails as well as claiming damages.
Yahoo’s defense argued that the petitioners kept sending emails to Yahoo users despite them having knowledge of the company’s activities. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) claimed that in so doing, the plaintiffs agreed to the company getting access to their emails.
The conversion of the court case into a class action lawsuit is good news for the plaintiffs. This is because the firm will now have to pay larger sums of money in form of damages. In case both parties decide to settle, the plaintiffs will gain access to a wider variety of solutions while at the same time the costs will be lowered.
The court case is just one of the few privacy violation cases which have made headlines over the past few months. Some time ago, Facebook also faced privacy violation cases after whistleblowers clamped in on the company privacy settings on the firm’s social network.