Earlier this week, a federal lawsuit was filed accusing Casper, the online direct-to-consumer mattress company, and NaviStone, a software firm, of illegally collecting data on visitors to the Casper website in an effort to gather information about their identities. The 21-page lawsuit, which is pursuing class-action status, alleges that the companies were gathering personally identifiable information (PII) without visitor’s consent.
The lawsuit was brought forward by Brady Cohen, a resident of New York City, who states he visited Casper’s website multiple times over a six-month period while he was shopping for a mattress.
During his visits, he claims he was unaware that Casper was using technology provided by NaviStone that had the ability to learn his PII, including details like his name and mailing address, without his consent.
According to the lawsuit, Casper was able to gather information about visitor’s habits by observing keystrokes, mouse clicks, and similar forms of electronic communication by using the NaviStone code, which is embedded in the sites. He alleges the software functions as an illegal “wiretap.”
Based on a report from CBS News, the filing states, “…when connecting to a website that runs this remote code from NaviStone, a visitor’s IP address and other PII is sent to NaviStone in real-time. This real-time interception and transmission of visitors’ electronic communications begins as soon as the visitor loads casper.com into their web browser.”
“The intercepted communications include, among other things, information typed on forms located on casper.com, regardless of whether the user completes the form or clicks ‘Submit,’” the filing continues.
Information on NaviStone’s website states the software allows clients to access “previously unidentifiable website visitors.”
Scott Bursor, Cohen’s attorney, alleges that Casper and NaviStone have violated the federal Wiretap Act, and is looking to represent all customers whose data was intercepted when they visited Casper’s website.
Casper has vocally denied the allegations outlined in the lawsuit, referring to them as a “blatant attempt to cash in on and extort a successful, high-growth startup.” According to reports, Casper more than doubled their sales numbers from the previous year, coming in at $220 million in the current year.
NaviStone has recently drawn scrutiny for its code after a report by Gizmodo stated that at least 100 websites use the software, including Quicken Loans, Road Scholar, and Wayfair. Gizmodo asserts that NaviStone disguises its activity through the use of “dummy domains.”
Road Scholar and Wayfair have stated they no longer use NaviStone’s code.