Spam Unsubscribe Service Sold Data to Uber: Complaint

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By Jimmy H. Koo

Spam email management service UnrollMe Inc. sold user data without consent to Uber Technologies Inc. and others, according to a federal court class complaint ( Cooper v. Slice Techs., Inc. , N.D. Cal., No. 3:17-cv-02340, complaint filed 4/26/17 ).

UnrollMe offered a free web service allowing users to unsubscribe from mailing lists, but it scanned customers’ emails for a variety of other data, the April 26 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleged.

The complaint asserts Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and Stored Communications Act (SCA) claims. ECPA prohibits interception of electronic communications, and the SCA prohibits unauthorized access of electronic communications in a storage facility. The complaint asks the court to order a halt to the alleged practices violating the statutes and for monetary damages.

According to plaintiff Jason Cooper, UnrollMe misled millions of consumers into granting the company “virtually unfettered access into their private and sensitive email inboxes.” Consumers allowed UnrollMe to access their email accounts for the limited reason of identifying and unsubscribing them from unwanted email messages. But through its parent company, Slice Technologies, UnrollMe sold the data to third parties, Cooper alleged. According to the class complaint, Slice gathered data from users of the Lyft ride-sharing service and sold that data to Lyft’s largest competitor: Uber.

“With that information, Uber was able to gain a competitive edge at the expense of UnrollMe users’ privacy,” the complaint said. UnrollMe and Slice failed to adequately disclose to customers “the true purpose for why they” sought access to users’ emails, the complaint said.

When contacted by Bloomberg BNA April 27, UnrollMe’s parent company, Slice Technologies Inc., declined to comment on the allegations. Lyft also declined to comment.

Uber didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s email request for comment.

The complaint was filed by Edelson PC.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jimmy H. Koo in Washington at jkoo@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

For More Information

Full text of the class complaint is available at http://src.bna.com/oib

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