Amazon Wiretapping of Flex Drivers’ Communications California CIPA Class Action

Should the company you work for be allowed to eavesdrop on a closed Facebook group exclusively for you and your fellow workers? The complaint for this class action brings suit against Amazon.com, Inc. for wiretapping electronic communications of members of Amazon Flex drivers Facebook groups, claiming that the company has violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA).

The class for this action is all California Flex Drivers who were members of the closed Facebook groups, where Amazon intercepted electronic communications.

To deliver customer purchases, Amazon uses both its own drivers and additional contract drivers, who are known as “Flex Drivers.” The complaint says, “Amazon pays regular people to deliver packages.”

“Amazon Flex Drivers have complained about a myriad of issues surrounding their employment,” the complaint says, “including a lack of job security, little to no benefits, and low pay.” The Facebook groups are closed, that is, they are open only to Flex Drivers, to allow them to discuss these issues and possible actions against them privately, without Amazon employees or management listening in.

But Amazon is listening in, the complaint contends. An Amazon document entitled “social media monitoring” names forty-three Facebook groups for Flex Drivers in various locations and says, “The following social forums mentioned in the table are to be monitored during the Social media process.”

Who does this monitoring? According to the complaint, Amazon has set up what it calls an Advocacy Operations Social Listening Team.” This does not sound like a casual undertaking: “Amazon recruits members of the Advocacy Operations from individuals who have backgrounds and experience in SIGINT and COMINT[,]” that is, signals intelligence and communications intelligence.

What are they listening for? The complaint says, “The purpose of this program is to monitor information about planned strikes or protests, unionizing efforts, warehouse conditions, pay, benefits, and whether workers have been approached by researchers examining Amazon’s workforce.”

The complaint reproduces an Amazon document on this monitoring program that shows the steps the monitors must take, including “categorization” of posts, “investigation” of them, and “reporting[.]” The complaint alleges that the monitoring takes place in real time, as the groups’ messages are posted, and that the reports go to Amazon’s Corporate Department. Those who do this work, the complaint says, are asked to keep it secret: “It will have a detrimental effect if it falls within the reach of any of our Delivery partners. DO NOT SHARE without proper authentication.”

CIPA requires the consent of all parties to such monitoring of communications.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Amazon Wiretapping of Flex Drivers’ Communications California CIPA Complaint

December 4, 2020

Should the company you work for be allowed to eavesdrop on a closed Facebook group exclusively for you and your fellow workers? The complaint for this class action brings suit against Amazon.com, Inc. for wiretapping electronic communications of members of Amazon Flex drivers Facebook groups, claiming that the company has violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA).

Amazon Wiretapping of Flex Drivers’ Communications California CIPA Complaint

Case Event History

Amazon Wiretapping of Flex Drivers’ Communications California CIPA Complaint

December 4, 2020

Should the company you work for be allowed to eavesdrop on a closed Facebook group exclusively for you and your fellow workers? The complaint for this class action brings suit against Amazon.com, Inc. for wiretapping electronic communications of members of Amazon Flex drivers Facebook groups, claiming that the company has violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA).

Amazon Wiretapping of Flex Drivers’ Communications California CIPA Complaint
Tags: Your Privacy, wiretapping