ADT Security customers have filed two class action lawsuits in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, federal court alleging that the company’s “intentional and negligent” security services allowed employees to spy on customers within their own homes.

One of the lawsuits represents a proposed class of ADT customers. The second complaint was filed on behalf of children and others who also allegedly suffered the same invasion of privacy from ADT Pulse cameras that lacked critical safeguards.

“Terrifying” disclosures

The first lawsuit describes how in April 2020 lead plaintiff Shana Doty “received a terrifying phone call from ADT: the technician who had worked on her indoor security camera system had granted himself remote access, and had used that access an unknown amount of times to spy on her, her husband, and her minor son in their most private moments.”

The second lawsuit similarly alleges that during the same month, Alexia Preddy’s mother also received an alarming phone call from ADT that the “the technician who had installed their indoor security camera system had granted himself remote access” to their ADT Security cameras. The alleged invasion of privacy occurred three years ago when Alexia was a teenager and an employee with access to their system used it nearly 100 times to spy on Alexia and others in the household “in their most private and intimate moments.”

According to the Preddy lawsuit, ADT’s investigation revealed that at least one of its technicians in the Dallas-Fort Worth area had access to more than 200 different customers’ ADT Pulse accounts for the last seven years. The intruder was able to add his own personal email to customer accounts, allowing him to remotely log in and view what was happening on customers’ private security cameras.

Negligent security

“This type of access could only occur because ADT failed to implement adequate procedures that would prevent non-household members from adding non-household email addresses,” the lawsuit alleges. The plaintiffs also claim that ADT “failed to monitor consumers’ accounts and promptly alert them any time a new email was added to their accounts” – a security measure routinely provided by companies holding sensitive customer accounts.

These negligent security protocols could have allowed “countless other ADT technicians and/or employees” to “[grant] themselves unfettered access to other customer accounts — entirely unbeknownst to both the customers and to ADT,” the Preddy lawsuit alleges.

Additional allegations

The lawsuit describes how in 2017, Ms. Preddy’s mother received an offer from ADT to upgrade the household account to the ADT Pulse System, which included installing security cameras within the home. ADT pitched this system with claims that the upgrade would enhance the personal security of household residents.

As a teenager at that time, Alexia Preddy “had reservations about installing security cameras inside of the home.” But “when her mother expressed those reservations to ADT, it reassured them both that the security system was perfectly safe,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuits allege that ADT started a campaign in which it would call “affected account holders and secure a release and confidentiality agreement in exchange for a monetary payment representing a fraction of the value of their claims.” They say the company did this to “mitigate and hide its actions.”

The plaintiffs are suing ADT for breach of contract; negligence; intrusion upon seclusion; Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations; negligent hiring, supervision and retention; and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Class Action lawsuits

Lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Consumer Fraud section handle claims similar to those in the ADT lawsuit. Consumer protection issues include cases that address economic losses often related to security breaches like data breaches, or defective products. These are often handled in class action litigation, which involves joining a large number of people together in consolidated litigation against a company or other entity whose actions resulted in financial harm to the consumer. For more information on this type of litigation, contact a lawyer in our Consumer Fraud section: Leon Hampton, Lauren Miles, Leslie Pescia, or Clay Barnett.

Additional source: Law Street

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