A federal district court in Arkansas has held that the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) does not completely preempt state law claims against Google based on Google’s interception of emails from non-Gmail users to Gmail users. Courts have split on this preemption issue, but the majority agree that Congress, in passing ECPA, intended to allow states to regulate in the area, as long as their laws were at least as restrictive (i.e., privacy protective) as ECPA. This issue is important to electronic communications service providers and to companies that monitor their employees’ email and Internet activity.
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