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Google Judge to Rule on Media Access to Documents After March 7

A U.S. judge said she would decide after March 7 if documents in a wiretapping lawsuit against Google Inc. should be accessible to media companies or be sealed, as Google and the plaintiffs had planned.

The New York Times, Courthouse News and other organizations asked U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, not to seal documents in the privacy case brought by consumers who allege that the Internet giant broke the law when it accessed Gmail traffic.

Moving forward the deadlines for more arguments to be filed, to March 3 and March 7, Koh said she would rule on the request without a hearing.

“The court recognizes the importance of putative intervenors’ concerns regarding public access to judicial proceedings,” she said in her written decision on Feb. 21.

Her decision comes as Internet users and regulators express growing concern over privacy invasion by Web companies and government bodies. Koh has been trying to set new standards for assessing whether e-mail users consented to use of their personal information and messages.

The case is In re Google Inc. Gmail Litigation, 13-md-02430, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

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