“Court Sends Amazon Alexa BIPA Plaintiffs to Arbitration”

“Consumers who sued Amazon must now arbitrate claims that the company’s Alexa device, a digital assistant, illegally recorded their voices and stored their voiceprints in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).” So begins this article by Christina Tabacco in Law Street Media, discussing the decision by an Illinois District Court in Wilcosky v. Amazon.Com, Inc.

The court’s order compelling arbitration includes one plaintiff who was an Alexa bystander, alleging that “he had not and never had been a purchaser of any Alexa device, nor had he ever set up an Alexa account or downloaded the Alexa application,” but that “nevertheless…his voice has been recorded without his consent by Alexa devices in Illinois numerous times.” The court nonetheless held that, by purchasing Amazon products, the plaintiff agreed to the company’s Conditions of Use, which contain an arbitration agreement and class action waiver providing that “[a]ny dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service, or to any products or services sold or distributed by Amazon or through Amazon.com will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court … .” For the court, this was enough to send the claim to arbitration, for an arbitrator to decide whether the scope of the arbitration provision encompassed the BIPA claims.

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