ADT is facing two class action lawsuits after it was revealed that a Dallas, Texas-area service employee was spying on hundreds of customers over a period of seven years. The employee added his personal email to 220 ADT customer accounts using the Pulse app during service appointments, giving him access to their home security cameras. ADT says they learned of the violation when a customer called saying there was an unauthorized email on their ADT account. The company says it immediately began an internal investigation, and soon found the employee had done the same thing during service visits with other customers in the Dallas area.
Once they learned what the employee was doing, ADT says the unauthorized access was revoked, and the employee was terminated. He was reported to law enforcement in April.
“Our customers trust ADT with their safety and protection,” a statement from ADT read. “We understand that this incident jeopardizes that trust and is entirely unacceptable. We will make extraordinary efforts to earn back that trust.”
The investigation of the employee is ongoing, and in the meantime, ADT says it is reviewing all customer accounts until they are sure no one else’s privacy is at risk. In addition, the company has implemented technical and procedural solutions in an effort to prevent this from happening again.
Since April, ADT says it individually contacted each of the 220 customers affected to try to resolve their concerns (a move which the suits call ‘a frantic effort to mitigate and hide its actions'). On May 14, the company asked a court arbitration to help the remaining customers who were affected by the former employee to quickly resolve their outstanding issues. ADT said this would allow customers to resolve any outstanding issues with an independent, third-party arbiter.
On May 18, Dallas-based law firm Fears Nachawati, Chicago-based Edelson PC and Dallas-based Carter Law Group filed two separate lawsuits — one on behalf of the customers whose accounts were breached by the employee, and the other on behalf of minors and others living inside the homes. The lead plaintiff in one of the lawsuits was a teenage girl during the time the breach occurred, and ADT informed her family that the technician had spied on them nearly 100 times, according to the lawsuit.
“The home security company marketed in-home camera systems as a way for parents to check in on their children and pets. However, it failed to provide even rudimentary safeguards, such as two-factor authentication or text alerts when a customer’s account was accessed,” a May 18 release from Fears Nachawati read.
Fears Nachawati partner Matthew McCarley says these lawsuits were filed to ensure ADT does everything possible to make their systems safe and deserving of the trust their clients place in them. The suits each seek more than $5 million plus interest and costs.