American Airlines is facing the threat of a multi-million-dollar class action lawsuit over allegations that it used so-called session replay technology to “illegally tap” electronic communications from customer visits to its website.
David Kauffman alleges in the lawsuit filed in Southern California District Court that American Airlines violated the federal Wiretap Act by using session replay technology without first alerting customers.
Software companies have developed session replay technology that is so sophisticated that it can record every keystroke, mouse movement, and scroll that a website visitor makes, down to what you type into a search box before you even press enter.
Rather than aggregating this treasure trove of information into the form of anonymized data, Kauffman alleges that the session replay technology can be used to record and playback individual browsing sessions “as if someone is looking over your shoulder”.
Some researchers claim this ability to look at someone’s browsing history in such fine detail could give companies access to highly personal information that customers would not voluntarily hand over.
Kauffman claims that Apple warns app developers that they must disclose the use of session replay software of face being immediately removed from its app store.
In 2019, Walgreens even decided to stop sharing data with an analytics firm that provided the retail giant with session replay technology over questions raised by WIRED magazine about the reach of the software.
As well as alleging violations of the Wiretap Act, the lawsuit also claims American Airlines has violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act. Kaufmann is seeking $10,000 or $100 per day in statutory damages for each violation of the Wiretap Act and $2,500 in statutory damages for each violation of the CIPA.
American Airlines isn’t the only company that Kauffmann is targeting over the use of session replay technology. In September and October, Kauffman has also filed similar class action suits against Papa John’s, Zillow and Alaska Airlines
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.