The maker of so-called spyware program WebWatcher can be sued for violating state and federal wiretap laws, a U.S. appeals court has ruled, in a case that may have broader implications for online monitoring software and software as a service.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected WebWatcher vendor Awareness Technologies’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the company. The appeals court overturned a lower court ruling granting the motion to dismiss.
The appeals court, in a 2-1 decision Tuesday, rejected Awareness’ claims that WebWatcher does not intercept communications in real time, in violation of the U.S. wiretap act, but instead allows users to review targets’ communications. While plaintiff Javier Luis’ lawsuit doesn’t address real-time interception of communications, his allegations “give rise to a reasonable inference” of that happening, Judge Ronald Lee Gilman wrote.
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