Lawsuit Alleges Zillow Wiretaps Website Visits, Records User Activity

A new class action lawsuit accuses Zillow of using tech that is the equivalent of wiretapping the activity of users who visit the company’s website.

The class action complaint was filed in a federal court in Seattle, Washington on behalf of Natalie Perkins and Kenneth Hasson and other plaintiffs with similar grievances.

According to court documents, the session-replay technology the housing sales company uses captures “mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes (such as text being entered into an information field or text box), URLs of web pages visited, and/or other electronic communications in real-time.”

“Zillow’s procurement of the Session Replay Providers to secretly deploy the Session Replay Code results in the electronic equivalent of ‘looking over the shoulder’ of each visitor to the Zillow website for the entire duration of their website interaction,” the complaint states.

It also names Microsoft as a defendant in the lawsuit for being the session-replay provider.

Zillow spokesperson Will Lemke told the Seattle Times the company is “currently reviewing” the suit.

“Zillow takes the privacy and security of users’ information very seriously,” Lemke said. “We are transparent with our users through our privacy policy, which explains to users the types of information we collect as they use our apps and websites.”

Microsoft spokesperson David Cuddy said the company was also “looking into this closely.”

This is the latest round of lawsuits Zillow has faced as some of its investors filed lawsuits in 2021 that accused the company of failing to disclose it was struggling in its home-flipping business.

Zillow is also not alone in being sued for its use of the session replay technology. Lowe’s, Expedia and other companies were also sued for how they track user activity with the technology.

It is something attorney Kristin Bryan said is becoming more common because people are more concerned about protecting their privacy than ever.

“Privacy and cybersecurity [are] a top-of-mind issue right now,” Bryan told the Times.

PHOTO: A home for sale sign near Hillsborough, N.C., Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

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