Danger Downstream: Your Data May Be Leaking, And You Could Be Sued

Is your website about to blow up? To hear CEO of Lokker Ian Cohen tell it, you could be heading for a tough round of litigation without ever knowing what hit you.  

“Regulated industries are getting sued under new laws and old laws,” Cohen notes. “There have been 290 class-action lawsuits against healthcare firms for inadvertently sharing data with Meta.” 

The problem seems to be seeping data, and the penalties that go with it. 

“It’s a real problem,” Cohen says. "On the tech side, when you build a website, you’re building with the cloud and third-party software, also analytics performance and ad tools. This software resolves with third parties and the end user’s browser. There is exponential growth of people who are accessing customer data that most companies can’t see and can’t control.” 



At the same time, many new state bills allow private right of action, leading to class action suits. From the right to be forgotten to age-gating, laws require that “web sites deliver a base level of privacy safety,” Cohen states. 

What’s the economic impact of all this litigation?. The hit from GDPR alone is $4.5 billion this year, and “the U.S. is in for a ride that is a lot bumpier than that,” Cohen says.

Wouldn’t the solution be a federal privacy law? “Once you have this many states with laws, you’re not going to see every state agreeing to be pre-empted by federal law,” Cohen observes.

So what can Lokker do about it?

Lokker created a privacy detection and response platform because “we saw the market was moving away from policy management alone and more into enforcement,” Cohen says. 

To start with, the company offers a free audit of your site. “We’re able to see all the trackers on your page -- what countries it’s going to.” 

This is delivered in PDF format, and apparently it can be brutally honest. Lokker points out the cookies and trackers and possible leaks, from personal to healthcare data, and scores it against other sites that are out there.  

The goal is to “tell people about these problems long before they get you in trouble,” Cohen adds.

What’s the revenue model for Lokker? “It’s an SaaS license,” Cohen says. “We often sell to large enterprises.” 

In other words, the firm offers to clean the site out. Brands must be able to target demographically without the data continuing downstream to other trackers. 

Lokker doesn’t specifically deal with email risks. But Cohen notes that scam artists have easy access to email and other data. “They don’t have to buy if off the dark web,” he says. “They buy it legally from a data broker.” 

Cohen, a former chief product officer at Experian, founded Lokker 2-1/2 years ago. The platform went live in July 2022. The venture-backed company now has 15 employees. 

“Most companies intend to do the right thing,” he concludes. “But they can go ahead and follow all the rules and still get in trouble with privacy violations.”



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