Proposed Class Action Suit Claims COSTCO Violated Florida Communications Security Act
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A lawsuit just filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court alleges that Costco monitored traffic to its website, never giving visitors the option to “opt out” of surveillance by the mega-retailer.
(If you are reading this in a news app and the documents do not appear, just click here to access our main website).
The plaintiff, identified as a “Jason Goldstein” of Palm Beach County, makes the following claims:
“Defendant owns and operates the website Costco.com. Over the past year, Plaintiff visited Defendant’s website approximately five times. Plaintiff most recently visited Defendant’s website on or about September, 2020. Plaintiff was in Florida during each visit to Defendant’s website.”
Here is the key claim: “Upon information and belief, during one or more of these visits, Defendant utilized tracking, recording and/ or “session replay” software to contemporaneously intercept Plaintiff’s use and interaction with the website, including mouse clips and movements, information inputted by Plaintiff, and/or pages and content viewed by Plaintiff. Defendant also recorded Plaintiff’s location during the visits, as well as time and dates of each visit.”
Adds the suit: “Plaintiff never consented to intercept of his electronic communications by Defendant or anyone else … Plaintiff and the putative Class members did not have a reasonable opportunity to discover Defendant’s unlawful interceptions because Defendant did not disclose or seek their consent to intercept the communications.”
The lawsuit claims that Costco violated the Florida Security Communications Act which, in general terms, makes it a crime to intercept someone’s electronic communications. Whether that can be applied to a public website visitor where someone is visiting a retail site with the likely intention of buying something will be an issue for the court. Companies routinely monitor web traffic for security and analytics data. The suit does not state how specific Costco’s analytics are. There is a difference between knowing that someone visited from Palm Beach County and knowing that “Jason Goldstein” used a specific computer at a specific address.
“It is a violation of the FSCA to intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any electronic communication,” states the suit. “Plaintiff and the Class members had an expectation of privacy during their visits to the (Costco) website, which Defendant violated by intercepting their electronic communications with the website.”
Read the complete suit, below. If you are reading in a news app and the PDF does not appear, just click here.
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