Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Man Sues Google for Reading His Private Emails

A man has filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing it of violating his privacy.

A Russian man has filed a lawsuit against search giant Google, accusing it of violating his privacy by showing him advertisements based on comments made in private e-mails.

Anton Burkov, from Yekaterinburg, filed the suit in a Moscow court when advertisements for French hotels and visa services began appearing alongside Google search results — shortly after discussing a trip to Strasbourg with friends.

"I realized that it was not a coincidence, and that [Google] had read my correspondence," Burkov was cited as saying Monday by the RIA Novosti news agency.

A company spokesperson said the Russian branch of Google had been incorrectly identified as a defendant in the case as it is not responsible for the company's Gmail e-mail service.

The suit should therefore have been filed against the U.S-based Google Inc., the representative was cited as saying by RIA.

Burkov, who is representing himself in court, will ask Google to stop promoting advertisements based on private data and is seeking 50,000 rubles ($795) in compensation, the report said.

Google announced in April last year that it was using automated software to scan the content of e-mails on its servers as part of a strategy to tailor online advertisements to users' interests, in a move widely condemned by human rights activists.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.