Ford Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Privacy Law Violation
A new class action lawsuit alleges Ford Motor Company of utilizing its infotainment system to download and keep drivers’ private SMS conversations to give to law enforcers later, as well as to a private company called Berla.
Mark Jones, et al., v. Ford Motor Company
On September 10, lead plaintiffs Mark Jones and Michael McKee filed a class action lawsuit in Washington, alleging Ford of violating the Washington Privacy Act. The lawsuit claims that the stated act prohibits anyone from intercepting or pre-recording private communication if there was no consent from everyone participating.
The plaintiffs allege that the automotive company has been violating the privacy act via the software and hardware manufactured by Berla Corporation. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Berla will then pass the acquired communication to law enforcement, civil agencies, military, regulatory agencies, and selected private organizations. Moreover, Berla has not provided the consumers’ instructions on how to access and/or delete the stored conversations.
It is stated in the Ford Infotainment Privacy Class Action Lawsuit that Ford’s infotainment systems in its vehicles download a copy of SMS’ stored in any mobile device connected to it. The acquired messages will then be stored in the vehicle’s computer memory in a manner that the owner cannot access.
Jones is an owner of a 2021 Ford vehicle that comes with an infotainment system that he uses repeatedly. He alleges that he did not give Ford any consent to download and store his SMS’, as well as to third parties, namely Berla, or law enforcement, to have access to his Ford’s infotainment system.
Lastly, McKee wrote messages to Jones, and the lawsuit claims that his messages were likewise stored without his consent.
Ford Allegedly Downloaded Phone Conversations and Data in Rental Vehicles Illegally
The Ford Infotainment Privacy Class Action Lawsuit alleges that the same issue exists with rental Ford vehicles, with Ben LeMere, the CEO as well as the founder of Berla, telling the press that the company has received a number of messages demanding drugs and sex stored in rental vehicles. According to LeMere, as soon as a phone is connected to a USB power port, both hardware and software begin draining all of your data into the automobile.
Jones asserts that Ford has compromised its customers’ privacy and is suing on behalf of all Ford owners in Washington for breaches of the Washington Privacy Act. He seeks class certification, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, monetary damages, attorney’s fees, and costs, as well as a jury trial.
Editor’s Note on Ford Infotainment Privacy Class Action Lawsuit:
This article is written to inform you of the class action lawsuit against Ford Motor Company over allegedly storing its consumers’ private data when their mobile device is connected to a vehicle’s infotainment system. You might also be interested in the Honda Acura RDX Infotainment Settlement.
Case Name & No.: Mark Jones, et al., v. Ford Motor Company, Case No. 3:21-cv-05666
Jurisdiction: U.S. State of Washington Thurston County Superior Court
Products/Services: Private consumer data
Allegations: Ford allegedly downloaded and stored SMS from consumers using its manufactured vehicles’ infotainment system
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