A tracking device called Tile may be effective in preventing its user from losing keys, a dog or a purse, but it is also a tool used by stalkers, according to two women who have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Tile Inc. and Amazon.
The lawsuit filed Aug. 14 against San Mateo, Calif.-based Tile Inc., parent Life360 and Amazon in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by two victims of stalking alleges negligence, unjust enrichment, privacy violations and design defects.
“From the moment of the Tile tracker’s release, Tile marketed its product both explicitly and implicitly for the purpose of tracking people — particularly women,” the women allege. Plus, the company’s executives allegedly mocked employees who expressed concerns about the use of the product; despite having knowledge of Tile’s misuse, it “waited nine years before implementing any type of safety feature on its trackers.”
Amazon is included in the lawsuit because it partnered with Tile in May 2021 to enhance its Sidewalk tracking network, according to court documents. The partnership “made the Tile tracker vastly more effective, and therefore vastly more dangerous,” according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs cite news reports, reviews and social media posts that honed in on the potential of Tile, released in 2013, to be used for stalking.
Tile and Amazon are accused of breaching a duty of care to consumers “by releasing Tile trackers into the marketplace with insufficient safeguards to prohibit their use for stalking purposes.” The plaintiffs said that even if victims are able to find a Tile tracking device and bring it to police, “there are very few meaningful protections that such a victim would then be able to receive. At present, only 23 states have electronic tracking laws, and stalking, in and of itself, is a crime that often goes unprosecuted.”
The case is Ireland-Gordy et al. v. Tile Inc. et al., 3:23-cv-04119, US District Court, Northern District of California.