RNC sues Google over email spam filters
The Republican National Committee is suing the Internet search engine Google over its decision not to remove a link from the popular Gmail email service that directs visitors to an anti-GOP ad campaign.
Gmail users who click on the link — sent in an e-mail message from the American Crossroads organization — are redirected to an advertisement for the RNC’s “Stop Voter Suppression” campaign.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeks a permanent injunction to prevent Google from removing the link.
The RNC is also asking the court to hold Google liable for “damages and other relief” for violating the state and federal “right to publicity” laws, which protect people’s identities when their names or likenesses are used for commercial purposes in connection with advertising.
Gmail users see a link to the RNC’s anti-GOP campaign, which includes a message from Google’s public policy director: “The search engine has decided that our users’ personal information and their ability to communicate with their friends is no longer protected by the U.S. Constitution and cannot be used to express political views.”
“At what point will an industry be trusted to defend its customers’ right to privacy as opposed to being a faceless, anonymous corporation?” the suit asks.
The RNC is represented by the Washington law firm Perkins Coie. The American Crossroads group and Google are represented by the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
“This lawsuit should serve as a warning that companies can no longer be bullied into censoring their users or otherwise compromising their First Amendment rights – especially when those customers are the Republican party,” said RNC Communications Director Chris Martin.
“At a time when the government is spying on American citizens, attacking their rights and punishing them in the name of national security, we are gratified by the fact that we’ve achieved national recognition for protecting the rights of our constituents and we look forward to vindicating those rights in court.”