Meta Defeats Claim It Wrongly Collects Data About Drivers

Siding with Meta Platforms, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that the company's analytics software, the Meta Pixel, wrongly collected information from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles' website.

The decision, issued Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Gordon in Nevada, comes in a class-action complaint brought last August by Matthew Davis. He alleged that Meta, through its analytics code gathered “a trove of information about a driver’s personal business” with the Department of Motor Vehicles -- including whether people were scheduling appointments for a driver's test, or seeking to register a new car. He added in the complaint that Meta's pixel transmits “highly restricted” data, including information about a driver's disability.

Davis also alleged that Meta uses that information for targeted advertising.

He claimed in the complaint that Meta was violating the Driver's Privacy Protection Act -- a 1994 federal statute that prohibits anyone from knowingly obtaining personal information from a motor vehicle record for an improper purpose.



Meta urged Gordon to dismiss the lawsuit at an early stage, arguing that even if the allegations were true, they wouldn't show that the company violated the Driver's Privacy Protection Act. Among other arguments, Meta contended that the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles' website is not a “motor vehicle record.”

Gordon agreed with Meta, writing that even though Davis alleged in the complaint that people can complete a variety of tasks on the website, such as scheduling appointments for driver tests, he didn't allege that the website “records any of this information.”

The ruling allows Davis to beef up his allegations and bring them again by July 31.

The new decision comes almost one year after a different federal judge -- Susan Illston in the Northern District of California -- Meta's bid for a quick dismissal in a similar lawsuit. In that case, Illston allowed California resident Mikhail Gershzon to proceed with a claim that Meta wrongly collected data from California's Department of Motor Vehicles' website.

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