Amazon Defeats Privacy Lawsuit Over Prime Video

Siding with Amazon, a federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit alleging that the company violated New York and Minnesota video privacy laws by retaining records of the movies and television programs people stream through Amazon Prime.

The decision comes in a lawsuit brought by New York state resident Angela Lugo and Minnesota president Andrew Brynildson. They alleged in a September 2022 complaint that Amazon “maintains a digital dossier on millions of consumers throughout New York and Minnesota.”

Both of those states not only prohibit disclosure of viewing data without consent, but also require video rental companies to promptly destroy identifiable information as soon as practical, with an outer limit of one year from the time the data is no longer needed.

Amazon urged U.S. District Court Judge Tana Lan in Seattle to throw out the case for numerous reasons. Among others, the company said Lugo and Brynildson lack “standing” to proceed in federal court because they weren't injured by the alleged data retention.



Lan agreed with Amazon, ruling that the allegations, even if true, wouldn't prove Lugo or Brynildson suffered a concrete injury.

“Nowhere in their complaint do plaintiffs suggest that they suffered any harm resulting from the alleged retention of their rental histories,” Lan wrote. “Plaintiffs do not claim, for example, that their rental histories -- or any other information about them -- was disclosed to anyone. At most, they imply that retention of rental history could increase the likelihood of disclosure ... but these allegations are too abstract.”

Lan initially dismissed the claims in late September, but said the plaintiffs could reformulate their allegations and bring them again within 30 days. They failed to do so, and she dismissed the complaint for good on Friday.

Apple and Google were hit with similar lawsuits by residents of New York and California. Both companies prevailed in federal district court, but the plaintiffs in those cases are asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate their claims.

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