Privacy expectations of consumers have changed drastically within the last few years. From questions about how businesses process data to a slew of new privacy legislation, the landscape is quickly changing.
The Latest Privacy Class Action Suit: Tesla
A Tesla owner based in California sued the company in a prospective class action lawsuit claiming that Tesla violated the privacy of consumers. The action claims that groups of Tesla employees shared highly invasive videos and images recorded by customers’ car cameras between 2019 and 2022. The prospective class could include any individual who owned or leased a Tesla during this time. The action seeks to enjoin Tesla from engaging in this wrongful behavior and to recover actual and punitive damages.
Other Recent Privacy Class Action Lawsuits
Over the past several years, there have been significant settlements paid to consumers over violations of their privacy rights, particularly around the collection of biometric data.
In 2021, Facebook agreed to pay a $650 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging the company collected biometric data without user consent. In October 2022, the first ever biometric privacy case went to a jury trial, resulting in a $228 million verdict against BNSF Railway.
In December 2022, Meta Platforms agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class action for sharing user data without permission. Finally, in what is considered the largest privacy settlement to date, Google agreed to pay $391 million to 40 states for misleading users about opting out of data sharing.
Changing Privacy Laws
California was the first state to pass a comprehensive privacy law – the California Consumer Privacy Act, which was later amended by the California Privacy Rights Act. The law established a California Privacy Protection Agency which is the first government agency in the United States dedicated to enforcing data privacy laws.
Four other states – Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia have also enacted comprehensive consumer privacy laws. Nine states including New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland have introduced privacy legislation specifically focused on biometrics. There has also been consumer privacy legislation introduced at the federal level but it has failed to advance.
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