Google’s Gmail-reading ad service faces Russian privacy probe

Russian antimonopoly officials have launched an inquiry into Google for allegedly violating correspondence privacy in their advertising, Russian media reported. Google denied the charges, claiming that e-mails are reviewed by a computer, not a human.

Google’s webmail service Gmail will be investigated by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) for alleged unfair business practices and violating laws concerning the privacy of email correspondences, Izvestia daily revealed on Tuesday. The investigation was launched after multiple appeals by Russian citizens who were targeted by contextual advertising generated by Google’s web service engine, FAS representatives said.

FAS press chief Irina Kashunina confirmed to RT that experts at the antimonopoly service are going to examine Gmail’s advertising practices to verify whether Google has violated Russian law to gain a competitive edge. The probe will most likely take at least one month, she said.

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