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Gmail doesn’t discriminate against Republicans, judge rules

Several months after the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against Google for applying spam filters that promoted political bias, the case is officially closed (via The Washington Post).

A federal judge has now dismissed what has been called a “case closed” because “the RNC [had] did not sufficiently claim that Google acted in bad faith by filtering RNC messages into Gmail users’ spam folders.”

US District Judge Daniel J. Calabretta also noted that Gmail’s use of spam filtering is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The Gmail lawsuit was dismissed

Section 230 protects “providers of interactive computer services,” such as Gmail, from lawsuits related to decisions to block and filter offensive material. While many have called for clearer guidance and even rewriting of this section of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, including Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in this case it served to protect email provider.

Despite earlier claims that there was indeed no bias and calls to drop the case, Google launched a pilot to allow political parties to choose to bypass filters and send emails directly to users’ Gmail inboxes.

The scheme was introduced in time for the 2022 US election period, but was pulled the plug just a few months later. It was also reported that the RNC has not signed up to take part in the programme.

Earlier this year, said José Castañeda of Google tech Radar Pro: “We will continue to invest in spam filtering technologies that protect people from unwanted messages while still allowing senders to reach the inboxes of users who want to see those messages.”

We asked Castañeda to comment on the outcome of the case. We’ve also given the RNC an opportunity to provide feedback, but neither have responded yet.

through The Washington Post


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