ADT Sued Over Allegations of Surreptitious Spying

On Friday,  a consumer filed a class-action complaint in the Southern District of Florida against ADT LLC doing business as ADT Security Services “based on its intentional and negligent tortious acts in providing security services to its customers with remote-viewing capabilities” and former employee Telesforo Aviles “for using those services to spy on Plaintiff and others who resided in homes with ADT security systems.”

According to the complaint, in April 2020, the plaintiff’s wife received a call from ADT informing her that “the technician who had installed their indoor security camera system (defendant Aviles) … had granted himself remote access, and had used that access an unknown amount of times to spy on (the plaintiff, his wife, and their minor son) … in their most private and intimate moments.” However, the plaintiff contended that their family was not the only one to suffer from this alleged spying. Reportedly, “hundreds of households had experienced the same staggering invasion of privacy over at least a seven-year period. At fault for this breach: ADT’s unsecure and unmonitored ‘security’ services.”

The plaintiff averred that ADT failed to “provide the security services its customers paid for by leaving large vulnerabilities in the ADT Pulse application,” which purportedly led to the invasion of privacy in the customers’ households. Specifically, the vulnerability allowed an ADT technician to grant themselves, or someone else, “access to a customer’s ADT Pulse application and control every aspect of the customer’s home security system, including surreptitiously opening locks, disarming their system, and viewing and downloading security camera footage.” In particular, according to the complaint, defendant Aviles admitted in a guilty plea that via the vulnerability he would “watch customers naked and engaging in sexual activity” for “his own sexual gratification.”

ADT allegedly conducted a campaign “to call all affected account holders and secure a release and confidential(it)y agreement in exchange for monetary payment representing a fraction of the value of their claims … and attempted to mislead them into believing that the release would cover account holders and non-account holders in the household alike.” The plaintiff added that the number of third parties surreptitiously viewing this content is unknown. Furthermore, the plaintiff claimed the incident caused mental and emotional harm.

The plaintiff claimed that ADT should have known that: “(1) the surreptitious recordings of Plaintiff contained private and confidential information about Plaintiff”; “(2) Plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy …”; “(3) the recordings were taken without Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent”; “(4) the surreptitious recordings would reveal private and personal things about Plaintiff which (the defendants) had no right or authorization to view, use, disseminate, or disclose”; and “(5) the viewing of these private acts and occasions constitutes a substantial violation of Plaintiff’s right of privacy.”

The causes of action include negligence; intrusion upon seclusion; negligent hiring, supervision and retention; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and privacy monitoring.   

The plaintiff seeks class and sub-class certification and for the plaintiff and his counsel to represent the class and sub-class; declaratory and injunctive relief; an award for damages, costs, and fees; pre and post judgment interest; and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Edelson PC, Fears Nachawati PLLC, and Carter Law Group P.C.

ADT was also sued over the same vulnerability and incident last year. That suit remains ongoing.