Bloomberg: Amazon to Let Customers Sue After Thousands of Alexa Complaints
Over the last 16 months, Keller Lenkner has filed roughly 75,000 individual arbitration claims against Amazon on behalf of Amazon Alexa users who were recorded by the device without permission. As a result, Amazon has stopped requiring its customers to pursue claims in arbitration—customers may now file class-action suits against the company in state or federal court. Previously, claimants were required to enter arbitration as individuals.
Keller Lenkner Managing Partner Travis Lenkner explains that by default, Alexa stores voice recordings of unwitting parties and, in some cases, violates state wiretapping laws. “Most people, when you tell them that Amazon records them for these purposes, are very surprised,” said Lenkner. “Our clients, to describe them as a group, are upset about that.”
Keller Lenkner also represents a group of children suing Amazon in federal court for making, analyzing, and retaining voice recordings of minors for its commercial benefit, in violation of state privacy laws. Children do not consent to be recorded and use Alexa without understanding or warning that Amazon is recording and voiceprinting them. The children themselves did not agree to arbitration agreements their parents had agreed to as a condition of using the software. And Amazon’s terms of service fail to obtain consent from the children’s parents or guardians.
“It’s remarkable that one of the largest companies in the world, when faced with actual claims under a dispute resolution clause that it drafted, would take such an about-face,” Lenkner said.
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