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Judge says Google’s spam SMS not ‘free speech’

updated 05:50 am EST, Tue March 6, 2012

Judge paves way for class-action over Disco app

A California judge has rejected an argument put forward by Google's lawyers that spam SMS messages it sent unsolicited to users are covered under the First Amendment. Google's lawyers had tried to argue that the SMS messages were nothing more than 'informative' and, as such, qualified as free speech. The Judge's ruling means that a class-action lawsuit can proceed in which the plaintiffs argue that Google breached the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

The complaint specifically centers around a now discontinued Google SMS application called Disco, a product of its acquisition of the social application company Slide in 2010. According to the complaint, the app scanned the contacts list of Disco users and automatically sent them text messages advertising the service and how to get it, without regard to whether the contacts were Disco users themselves.

Google had hoped that the judge would accept that the text messages were covered by freedom of speech legislation and that the case would be dismissed. Instead, the ruling means that the Google will now have devise a new counter-argument or alternatively reach a settlement with the claimants. [via The Verge]

by MacNN Staff



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