VTech Seeks Dismissal of Class Action Suit
VTech, a digital toymaker that was hacked in 2015, has asked an Illinois court to dismiss the class action lawsuit against it.
VTech is a Chinese company that sells Internet-connected learning toys for children, including tablets, smartwatches and other toys. Its Learning Lodge app allows customers to download apps, learning games, e-books and other educational content to VTech products.
When the breach was initially reported, early estimates indicated the personal details of nearly 5 million children and adults had been breached. When VTech confirmed the breach on November 27, 2015, though, the number of affected customers was 11 million–including 6.37 million children. Stolen information included names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, questions and answers for password retrieval, IP addresses and mailing addresses, as well as photographs and messages that had been exchanged between kids and their caretakers.
A class action lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, which was dismissed last July, as the judge said plaintiffs had failed to prove identity theft.
In the reframed case, plaintiffs are asking the court to assess damages based on the fact that the breaches reduced the value of their purchases. VTech is countering these claims by saying the breached services, Learning Lodge and Kid Connect, were not made available until the physical products had already been sold. Thus, the company is arguing that the toys worked as intended.
“Plaintiffs’ arguments still rest on the fundamentally flawed premise that VTech’s alleged promises regarding its ‘Online Services’ (Learning Lodge and Kid Connect) were somehow relevant to the hardware devices that Plaintiffs purchased before they registered for the Online Services”, the filing states.
The Kid Connect service allowed caretakers and kids to send messages through these devices. Since the breach, the Kid Connect service has been shut down, though the Learning Lodge service has been enabled once again.