As reported by Bloomberg Law, lawsuits against Meta and other digital platforms are growing in number over allegations that the companies are improperly sharing user’s tracking data related to the videos they watch on the internet.
Lieff Cabraser represents users in a federal class action data privacy lawsuit claiming Meta Platforms Inc.’s Pixel tracking tool sent their private video viewing activity from online platforms to Facebook without their consent, in violation of the federal Video Privacy Protection Act.
A large number of digital platforms that host videos are now facing similar lawsuits, including companies’ like the NFL and NPR. The complaints allege the businesses knowingly and unlawfully disclose protected data by allowing Meta’s embedded Pixel code to share a subscriber’s viewing history along with their unique Facebook ID.
“It’s critical that people be able to watch what they want to watch and not have the whole world know about it, and have it be monetized and exploited and correlated and aggregated with other data,” said Lieff Cabraser partner Douglas Cuthbertson, who is a member of the firm’s Privacy & Cybersecurity practice group, and a lead attorney on the case.
A requirement of the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) is that a provider must obtain a user’s informed and written consent before disclosing their video viewing data to any third party. According to Cuthbertson, basic privacy policies, such as those currently used by Meta and other large media companies, don’t meet this required standard. Cuthbertson noted that “consent must be obtained via a separate form from other user agreements,” and added that the platforms he has investigated in VPPA cases have failed to do so.
A partner in Lieff Cabraser’s New York office, Douglas Cuthbertson has a practice focused on domestic and international consumer fraud cases, digital privacy, and securities fraud.
His past and present work includes securities litigation against the Brazilian petroleum corporation Petrobras, a financial fraud action against Morgan Stanley, consumer litigation against Volkswagen, as well as an airline overcharging case against British Airways where he was designated as Class Counsel (Dover v. British Airways). Doug has also litigated numerous class action consumer protection cases under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act against large banks, satellite service providers, and utilities, helping result in the largest monetary settlements in the history of the TCPA to end harassing robocalls to millions of consumers.
Doug has acted in digital privacy litigation against Google, Disney, Viacom, and others, including as co-counsel for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and as Class Counsel in McDonald v. Kiloo A/S (and two related actions) on behalf of parents concerning the unlawful collection and use of their children’s personal information from mobile games to track and monetize kids. Leading nonprofit advocates described these settlements as “the biggest change to the children’s app market,” impacting Defendants’ “business models” to prevent children from being “targeted with the most insidious and manipulative forms of marketing.”
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