Consumer Watchdog

Goodyear faces class action lawsuits for collecting user data

Goodyear, the tire company, faces lawsuits over its collection of customer data

The tire company Goodyear currently faces class action lawsuits in two states: in California, for violating the state’s Invasion of Privacy Act, and now in Massachusetts, for violating the state’s wiretapping law. The latter was filed today. 

The suits allege that the company’s website uses a variety of tools to elicit personal information from visitors that is then shared with other companies for commercial purposes. The chatbot feature of Goodyear’s site, for example, is licensed by a third party company that harvests any data a customer provides. As the California suit alleges, the chatbot is particularly problematic as it “convincingly impersonates an actual human that encourages consumers to share their personal information.” 

This kind of data collection, sharing and sales increases the risks of unnecessary harm to consumers. The more data that is collected and shared about a person with an increasing number of companies, the more likely it is that data will be the subject of a breach or hack, as it’s unlikely every company in the data trading business has sufficient security measures in place. 

The answer is simple: companies should follow the principle of data minimization, only using customer data it collects to deliver the service the customer is expecting to get, and nothing else.

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