Google Triumphs As Court Tosses GOP's Censorship Lawsuit Over Donation Emails

In a decisive legal ruling, a U.S. District Judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee or RNC alleging that Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG GOOGL Google was censoring donation emails by routing them to Gmail users’ spam folders. 

What Happened: U.S. District Judge Daniel Calabretta’s ruling rested on the interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — a longstanding federal statute that shields internet companies from liability for content posted on their platforms. 

Judge Calabretta deemed Google’s email filtering practices as protected under this law, noting that Congress had recognized the harm caused by spam when enacting the Controlling the Assault of Non–Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act) in 2003. 

This legislation allows providers like Google to label marketing emails as “objectionable,” reported  Bloomberg. 

See Also: No More Ads, Please! Gmail Users Revolt Against Google’s Latest Update

Update (09:33 AM EDT): "We welcome the Court’s finding that there are no plausible allegations that Gmail’s spam filters discriminate for political purposes.  We will continue investing in spam-filtering technologies that protect people from unwanted emails while still allowing senders to reach the inboxes of users who want their messages." – Google Spokesperson

The lawsuit in question was filed in Sacramento, California, last year, in which RNC argued that emails sent via Gmail consistently ended up in spam folders, particularly during crucial fundraising periods at the end of each month. 

The committee said that despite attempts to resolve the issue through cooperation with Google, the problem persisted for months and claimed the tech giant was “discriminating” against them because of their conservative views. 

In his ruling, Judge Calabretta said that even if the RNC complied with the CAN-SPAM Act, the tech giant still has the discretion to consider multiple marketing emails from the same entity as “objectionable.” 

He added that a user’s previous interactions with a company did not equate to explicit solicitation of every email sent by that entity.

Why It’s Important: Despite the dismissal, the report noted that the RNC has been granted the opportunity to revise and refile its complaint. 

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Read Next: Is Your Gmail Gathering Dust? Google Is About To Sweep It Away

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