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| 1 minute read

Amazon must defend against class action case claiming violations of California Information Privacy Act (CIPA) and Federal Wiretap Act

Amazon lost its motion to compel individual arbitration against Amazon Flex drivers. But the more interesting part of the case is that the claim is based on a violation of the California Information Privacy Act (CIPA), a law that was originally passed in 1967. CIPA has gotten a lot of attention lately with claims that the use of certain website analytics technology and chatbot transcription functionality violates the prohibition against eavesdropping on confidential communications. 

In the Amazon case, the plaintiff Drickey Jackson doesn't claim that Amazon eavesdropped on his conversations on his mobile phone or even on their website. Instead, the claim is that Amazon monitored his electronic communications on a closed Facebook group where he discussed planned strikes or protests, pay, benefits, deliveries, driving and warehouse conditions, and unionizing efforts in real time and without his or the other class member's consent. 

While this is a blow to Amazon's attempt to arbitrate with each of the plaintiffs on an individual basis, the court and/or jury will have to decide whether or not the alleged monitoring does rise to the level of eavesdropping under CIPA. If it does, it will be another unanticipated use of CIPA in the modern, online world and may lead to additional claims against other entities who many monitor social media groups about them. Inc. must defend against a proposed class action potentially involving hundreds of delivery drivers following its failed bid to move a driver’s privacy claims to individual arbitration. Jackson accused Amazon of spying on conversations in private Facebook groups that include about 800 drivers for Amazon Flex, the company’s gig-style program that lets drivers use their own vehicles to deliver packages. He brought class claims under both California privacy law and federal wiretapping law.


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