C2 Education Trap and Trace Class Action

Trap and Trace Class Action Against C2 Education

C2 Education Trap and Trace Class Action

One of the country’s largest tutoring companies has been accused of invading the privacy of customers. The California consumer protection attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP recently filed a trap and trace class action against C2 Education for collaborating with TikTok, the popular but controversial social media platform, by installing a trap & trace device on its website as a means to collect data from consumers. According to the lawsuit, C2 Education has installed a code on their website that automatically sends user details to TikTok. Additionally, the TikTok de-anonymization software secretly installed on the tutoring website makes it possible for the educational services provider to identify site users by using electronic impulses generated from site visitors’ devices. All of these alleged acts constitute clear violations of California’s strong digital privacy laws, which is why the tutoring company now faces a class action lawsuit in federal court.

For additional information about the class action filed against C2 Educational Systems Inc., keep reading this blog.

What Is the Legal Definition of a “Trap and Trace Device”?

Section 638.50(c) of the California Penal Code defines a trap and trace device as “a device or process that captures the incoming electronic or other impulses that identify the originating number or other dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information reasonably likely to identify the source of a wire or electronic communication, but not the contents of a communication.” As set forth by the statute, a company must first get a court order before installing a trap and trace device on a website.

Violations of § 638.50(c), or any other part of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), could result in the offender being civilly liable for monetary damages.

Class Action Lawsuit: C2 Education Collected Personal Data of Website Visitors

C2 Education markets itself as the nation’s preeminent tutoring, test prep, and college admissions counseling provider. C2 Education provides online tutoring programs for K-12 students, including standardized test preparations, school subjects tutoring, college admission counseling, and education boot camps. The tutoring company serves more than 25,000 students across the country every year, with services offered both online at the C2 Education website and at brick-and-mortar locations throughout the United States, including California.

As part of its marketing regime, C2 Education has partnered with social media app TikTok to install sophisticated software on the tutoring website’s landing page. This software allegedly allows C2 Education to gain access to very personal information about consumers who happen to land on the site, including the individual’s location, source, and identity.

Is C2 Education Using TikTok to Unlawfully Share Customer Data?

The TikTok de-anonymization software allegedly used by C2 Education is designed for the sole purpose of identifying and capturing the source of incoming electronic impulses, which makes it possible to identify dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information generated by users of the C2 Education website. Significantly, this software is deployed without consumers’ knowledge or consent.

According to the recent lawsuit filed in U.S. district court, visitors to the C2 Education website are not informed that the site is capturing their personal identifying information. The class action suit also alleges that site visitors are not informed that the company is collaborating with the Chinese government. That’s because C2 Education did not obtain consumers’ express or implied consent to be subject to data sharing with Chinese-owned TikTok for the purposes of fingerprinting and de-anonymization.

“Fingerprinting” Technology

The TikTok software allegedly used by C2 Education collects consumer data via a process known as “fingerprinting.” This means that the software gathers and stores as much data as it can about an otherwise anonymous visitor to the website and then matches it with data that TikTok has already acquired and accumulated about hundreds of millions of Americans who use the social media app.

“Advanced Matching” Technology

The TikTok software, which uses “AutoAdvanced Matching” technology, scans the C2 Education website by running code or “scripts.” When the site user provides personal information – such as name, date of birth, or mailing address – the details are sent simultaneously to TikTok so that the social media provider can isolate with certainty the individual to be targeted.

Tutoring Company Sued for Violating California’s Trap and Trace Law

The invasive TikTok software allegedly runs on every page of C2 Education’s website, making it impossible for site visitors to avoid having their data collected. This means that every time a user clicks on a page, the site instantly sends the communications to TikTok. The social media company then adds the data to their massive collection of user behavior and, in turn, assists C2 Education with targeted marketing while keeping a trove of information for itself. These disturbing acts prompted Los Angeles consumer protection law firm Tauler Smith LLP to file a class action lawsuit against C2 Education in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

C2 Education’s alleged installation of the TikTok tracing software is a violation of California’s Trap and Trace Law, which is codified as California Penal Code Section 638.51. This is part of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), which imposes civil liability and significant statutory penalties against companies that install trap and trace software without either user permission or a court order.

Statutory Penalties

The class action lawsuit against C2 Education seeks multiple forms of relief for plaintiffs, including the following:

  • A court order enjoining C2 Education from continuing its alleged unlawful conduct, as well as an order to disgorge any data already collected through use of the TikTok software.
  • Statutory damages provided by the CIPA, which may include fines of up to $2,500 for each violation of the statute.

Did You Visit the C2 Education Website? Contact a California Consumer Protection Attorney Today

Did you visit the C2 Education website? If you filled out any online forms or provided any personal information to the tutoring company, you may be eligible to join a class action lawsuit to obtain monetary damages. The California consumer fraud attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP are representing plaintiffs who were victims of consumer privacy violations by C2 Education. To learn more, call 310-590-3927 or email us today.