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Showing posts with label Lawsuits. Show all posts

Facebook to give $550 Million as a Settlement in a Lawsuit


Social Media giant Facebook is to pay an amount of $550 million as a settlement in what appears to be another series of lawsuits, and this time, it is a Facial Recognition issue. The lawsuit is not good for the brand perception of Facebook as it puts further questions to the credibility of the privacy laws of the social networking site.


"Facebook has agreed to pay a settlement of $550 million related to a claim filed for FB's facial recognition technique," said Facebook this Wednesday. The incident that appeared in Illinois is said to be a great triumph for privacy organizations as it raises the question of privacy laws of the company Facebook which is already among the controversies of data laws. The issue emerged from FB's image labeling technique named 'Tag Suggestions,' which uses facial recognition techniques to suggest the name of users present in the photo.

The company that has filed lawsuit accused Facebook of collecting the facial data of the company's employees that violate Ilionis Biometric Privacy law. It accuses Fb of storing data of millions of users for Tag suggestions without the knowledge of the company's employees and also without them knowing how long the data will be kept. Facebook has dismissed the allegations saying it has no basis of proof. As per the settlement, FB has to pay $550 Million as legal fees to the affected users of the Illinois company. This payment even surpasses the $380 Million amount that the reporting agency 'Equifax' had agreed to pay for the settlement of a 2017 consumer data breach incident.

"Facebook agreed to settle the case by giving back what was rightful to the community and in the goodwill of public interest, as it affects our stakeholders," says FB's spokesperson. "The settlement highlighted the importance of user privacy and security," says lawyer Joey Edelson, whose firm addressed the issue on behalf of the affected users of Facial Recognition suit. He further says, "people worried about issues related to gun rights concerning women safety or people who like to participate in societal issues by not disclosing their identity hold the same importance and we should respect their privacy."

Amazon, Rings Sued by a Man Claiming that the Camera was Hacked and used to Harass his Kids


A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Amazon-owned Rings by Alabama resident John Orange. The company has been accused mainly of negligence and invasion of privacy amid other side claims namely breach of an implied warranty, breach of implied contract and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law against false advertising as it failed to provide enough protection against hacks.

Orange claimed that his internet-connected Ring camera which he bought in July 2019 was hacked and used to harass his three children aged seven, nine and ten, as per the lawsuit. Reportedly, the hacker spoke to the kids as they were playing basketball.

The argument for a class-action was supported by seven other similar incidents reported by media wherein these devices were hacked as the two-way talk function was used by hackers to talk to unsuspecting children.

A mother shared one such disturbing incident which made rounds on social media, it took place in Mississippi wherein the hacker attempted to engage with her eight-year-old daughter. While, another one which took place in Texas, witnessed a couple being threatened to pay a ransom of $350,000 in bitcoin.

According to the lawsuit, "An unknown person engaged with Mr. Orange’s children commenting on their basketball play and encouraging them to get closer to the camera."

“Although Ring is in the business of home security and was certainly aware that its Wi-Fi-enabled product, was vulnerable to attack, it took no steps to ‘require camera owners to use two-factor authentication, which could help prevent these types of attacks…,’” the lawsuit stated.

“Moreover, it knew, or should have known, in an era of pervasive data breaches, that logging in with user emails instead of unique account names, and not requiring at least 2FA [two-factor authentication], put its Wi-Fi-enabled product at an unreasonable risk of being compromised.”

“Unfortunately, Ring did not fulfill its core promise of providing privacy and security for its customers as its camera systems are fatally flawed,” the lawsuit further claimed.

On being asked by Gizmodo, a spokesman from Ring declined to comment as he told that the company "does not comment on legal matters."

If the matter qualifies for gaining the status of class action, Amazon and Ring would be asked to provide compensation for the affected parties and implement better security measures.

Amazon Sued Over Illegal Retention of Child Recordings Through Alexa



Amazon is being sued by a Massachusetts woman for unlawfully recording and storing the voices of children with its Alexa-enabled devices; the lawsuit filed in Seattle this week, claims that Amazon is contributing to a massive database by harnessing private details of millions of Americans via voice recordings.
Children, as a matter of fact, don’t fully understand the “potentially invasive uses of big data by a company the size of Amazon” and they “use Alexa without any understanding or warning that Amazon is recording and voice-printing them”, according to the lawsuit.
Criticizing Amazon’s methodologies, the two law firms, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Keller Lenkner alleged that the company decides to retain the actual voice recordings in spite of having an option to encrypt user voices. According to the complaint filed by these firms on behalf of an anonymous minor, Amazon stores the voices to examine it in the future and deploy the same for commercial profit.
Referencing from the Lawsuit, “It takes no great leap of imagination to be concerned that Amazon is developing voiceprints for millions of children that could allow the company (and potentially governments) to track a child’s use of Alexa-enabled devices in multiple locations and match those uses with a vast level of detail about the child’s life, ranging from private questions they have asked Alexa to the products they have used in their home,
The company is “allowing workers around the world to listen to the voice recordings and creating voiceprints of the users, which can be used to identify them when they speak to other devices in other locations,” the lawsuit reads.
Referenced from the statements given by a spokeswoman to BBC, “Amazon has a longstanding commitment to preserving the trust of our customers and their families, and we have strict measures and protocols in place to protect their security and privacy.”
Commenting on the matter during his conversation with Yahoo Finance,” Travis Lenkner, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said,
“The legal theory is very straightforward. These kids themselves never consented, if they even could. No one such as a parent ever consented on their behalf,”
“Amazon purports to obtain consent to record individuals who set up an Alexa-enabled device,” the complaint states. “But there is a large group of individuals who do not consent to be recorded when using an Alexa-enabled device and who use Alexa without any understanding or warning that Amazon is recording and voice printing them: children.”
“Every recording that is made of a child, by Amazon through the Alexa software in one of these nine states is ... a per se violation of the privacy laws of those states and carries statutory penalties along with it,”
Delving further into the matter, Lenkar explains “It builds voiceprints of individual users”, “so if a child uses an Alexa device in California, and then uses another one in Washington, Amazon theoretically knows it’s the same person.” The device creates a unique identity for each person based on their voice.”
The fact that Amazon could potentially overwrite the voice recordings and yet chose not to, given that doing so would not hinder the performance of the assistant, further worsens the matter on which the company is expected to provide answers in greater detail very soon.




Microsoft Sues IP Address for Windows, Office Piracy

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against an individual IP address that was reportedly attempting to activate a pirated version of Windows and Office. The IP address points to a Comcast office in New Jersey and is accused of trying to activate over 1,000 copies of the software.

It is unclear who the complaint is filed against as the lawsuit mentions “John Does 1-10” and the IP address (73.21.204.220).

The full complaint can be seen below.

“During the software activation process, Defendants contacted Microsoft activation servers in Washington over 2800 times from December 2014 to July 2017, and transmitted detailed information to those servers in order to activate the software,” Microsoft claims in the complaint.

Microsoft is suing for both copyright and trademark infringement and has asked the court to seize all copies of the unlicensed software.

Apple Admits to Slowing Down Old iPhones, Faces Lawsuits

Earlier this week, in response to a blog post by John Poole at Geekbench, Apple revealed that the company actually does slow down their iPhones when they get older, a fact that has been long suspected by iPhone users.

Apple said that it started the practice a year ago, to compensate for battery degradation, rather than push people to upgrade their smartphones faster.

This fact has led to a social media storm and outrage amongst users. Many have pointed out that a better solution may have been to make the battery replaceable and to inform customers, providing them an opt-out.

Apple is now facing two class-action lawsuits alleging that the company was intentionally and deceptively slowing down its phones so that users would buy the latest model, thus bringing more profits for Apple.

According to the lawsuit’s press release by a law firm in Chicago, Apple’s this move is “deemed purposeful, and if proven, constitutes the unlawful and decisive withholding of material information.” The second lawsuit comes from California stating that Apple should have provided its customers an option to choose between the slow-down, or opt out.