Caught in the Act: Eyemart's Web Tracking Sparks Class Action Lawsuit

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Eyemart Express Faces A Class Action Lawsuit For Allegedly Using Web Tracking To Collect User’s Personal Data Without Consent

In a digital age where privacy concerns are increasingly coming to the forefront, a class action lawsuit against Eyemart Express, LLC is drawing attention. Filed on March 13 in Dallas federal court, the lawsuit brings to light allegations that the company has been using sophisticated tracking tools on its website to intercept communications between its users and the site, all without the users' knowledge or consent.

Eyemart's website is a hub for users to browse eye health-related products and locate doctors for eye examinations. It provides various functionalities, including a search bar for specific goods and the ability to schedule eye exams online. Unbeknownst to users, their interactions with these features are allegedly being monitored and recorded by Meta's Pixel.

A closer look at the allegations

The lawsuit claims that Eyemart Express employs Meta's Pixel, a tracking tool developed by Meta (formerly Facebook), to gather information about users' activities on the Eyemart website, LegalNewsline reported. This includes details about searches, items viewed, and even attempts to schedule eye exams.

What's concerning for many is that this tracking tool captures not just any data, but personal health information (PHI) as well. When users search for products, schedule appointments, or simply browse the Eyemart website, their actions and the details of the items they're interested in are allegedly sent to Meta without the users being any the wiser.

The plaintiffs' view

Rachelle Rand, Esperanza Gottschau, and Ramon Soto, the lead plaintiffs in this case, are not just seeking justice for themselves but for all affected users. They argue that Eyemart's practices violate several laws, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, and the Missouri Wiretap Act. Their complaint emphasizes the lack of consent and notification about these tracking practices.

The issue of consent

One of the key issues raised by the lawsuit is the absence of informed consent. Users like Ms. Rand visited the Eyemart website with specific intentions, such as finding an eye doctor or searching for prescription products, without being made aware that their information would be collected and shared with a third party.

“Ms. Rand browsed the Website’s selection of prescription products, resulting in her PHI being shared with Facebook. Ms. Rand’s Facebook profile included personally identifiable information, including her real name, personal photos location, and gender. Ms. Rand did not consent to Defendant collecting her data while visiting and using the Website.”

According to the complaint, this collection of data goes beyond merely enhancing the website's user experience. It serves a more strategic purpose. By employing tools like Meta's Pixel, Eyemart is able to deeply analyze user data, pinpointing interests, lifestyles, and demographics. 

This isn't done just for the sake of information gathering; it's a calculated tactic to boost the value of advertising by making user data a valuable commodity for targeted marketing campaigns. This data is subsequently sold, ensuring that ads reach the most relevant audience.

Yet, while Eyemart and Meta benefit allegedly from this data strategy by fine-tuning their advertising efforts, the users from whom this data is taken see no advantage. The plaintiffs say they were never presented with an option to consent to this use of their personal information.

The plaintiffs are represented by Patrick Yarborough and Jeffrey Lucas Ott of Foster Yarborough PLLC; and Mark S. Reich, Courtney Maccarone and Gary I. Ishimoto of Levi & Korsinsky LLP.

The Eyemart user tracking class action lawsuit is Rand et al. v. Eyemart Express LLC, Case No. 3:24-cv-00621-N, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

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