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General Motors Websites Wiretapped by Decibel Insight Class Action

This class action against General Motors, LLC (GM) and Decibel Insight, Inc. is not about cars. The complaint alleges that the two companies are wiretapping visitors to GM websites, via embedded code they use to “secretly observe and record website visitors’ keystrokes, mouse clicks, and other electronic communications, including the entry of Personally Identifiable Information (‘PII’), in real time.” This, the complaint alleges, violates the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) and certain provisions of the Federal Wiretap Act.

The class for this action is all residents of the US who visited the websites an whose electronic communications were intercepted or recorded by Decibel.

The plaintiffs in this case, Dakotah Massie and Neil Manglani, visited the Chevrolet.com website—Massie in August and September 2020, and Manglani in September 2020. Each browsed the website, looking at cars, but did not buy anything. Neither was aware of the interception of his electronic communication or consented to it.

Decibel is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company. It provides GM with the Session Replay software installed on its website.

According to the complaint, the “Websites’ “Privacy Policies include a specific section dedicated to California law, and the Websites each include a web page specifically referencing California law [.]” It quotes that page as saying, “This site allows California residents to request (1) information on the personal information we collect, (2) that we not sell that personal information, and (3) that we delete that personal information as required under [the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)].”

The complaint quotes Decibel as saying that its Session Replay software “tracks and records every session…” and promises website owners that “[f]rom start to finish, you get to see every click, scroll, mouse movement, and page view.”

It promises companies can “[e]asily share your findings with other stakeholders by favoriting, commenting on, and sharing session replays from directly inside the product.” It also claims that “AI already watches back every single session replay automatically.”

According to the complaint, this is not simply a cookie and it does not simply aggregate data. Instead, it’s designed to allow playback of individual browsing sessions on the website, “as if someone is looking over your shoulder.”

The complaint alleges this is not only intrusive but also dangerous. A 2017 Princeton University study, the complaint alleges, “found that session recording technologies were collecting sensitive user information such as passwords and credit card numbers. The research notes that this wasn’t simply the result of a bug, but rather insecure practices.” The study notes, “This data can’t reasonably be expected to be kept anonymous.”

The complaint alleges that the Session Replay software “functions as a wiretap” and that it also does not provide sufficient protection for things like credit card numbers.

“Crucially,” the complaint alleges, “Defendant GM does not ask users … whether they consent to being wiretapped by Decibel. Users are never actively told that their electronic communications are being wiretapped by Decibel.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

General Motors Websites Wiretapped by Decibel Insight Complaint

February 26, 2021

This class action against General Motors, LLC (GM) and Decibel Insight, Inc. is not about cars. The complaint alleges that the two companies are wiretapping visitors to GM websites, via embedded code they use to “secretly observe and record website visitors’ keystrokes, mouse clicks, and other electronic communications, including the entry of Personally Identifiable Information (‘PII’), in real time.” This, the complaint alleges, violates the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) and certain provisions of the Federal Wiretap Act.

General Motors Websites Wiretapped by Decibel Insight Complaint

Case Event History

General Motors Websites Wiretapped by Decibel Insight Complaint

February 26, 2021

This class action against General Motors, LLC (GM) and Decibel Insight, Inc. is not about cars. The complaint alleges that the two companies are wiretapping visitors to GM websites, via embedded code they use to “secretly observe and record website visitors’ keystrokes, mouse clicks, and other electronic communications, including the entry of Personally Identifiable Information (‘PII’), in real time.” This, the complaint alleges, violates the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) and certain provisions of the Federal Wiretap Act.

General Motors Websites Wiretapped by Decibel Insight Complaint
Tags: Your Privacy, wiretapping