Tesla files Lawsuit against Ex-Employees and Zoox, Apple-Google’s COVID-19 Tracking Plan Faces Data Security Threats and more

Tesla files Lawsuit against Ex-Employees and Zoox, VIPKid accuses GSX of Stealing Trade Secrets, Indian Government Addresses COVID-19 App’s Privacy Concerns and Apple-Google’s COVID-19 Tracking Plan Faces Data Security Threats.

Tesla files Lawsuit against Ex-Employees and Zoox

Tesla, the American electric vehicle and clean energy company, filed a lawsuit against Zoox, an American self-driving car startup, and four other former employees, for allegedly stealing confidential information. The lawsuit claims that, that four of Tesla’s former employees who were later hired by Zoox, stole proprietary information and trade secrets for developing warehousing, logistics and inventory control operations. Zoox even acknowledged that some of their new employees who previously worked for Tesla, were in possession of Tesla’s documents pertaining to shipping, receiving, and warehouse procedures when they joined Zoox’s logistics team.
Following this revelation, Zoox settled the lawsuit by paying Tesla an undisclosed amount and agreeing to undergo an audit to ensure that none of its employees had retained or are using Tesla’s confidential information.

VIPKid accuses GSX of Stealing Trade Secrets

Online education company, VIPKid, has accused its rival, GSX Techedu, of allegedly stealing its trade secrets and has also sued two of GSX’s employees, who are involved in this matter. VIPKid has claimed that GSX employees have used customer information they obtained while working for VIPKid to promote sales at GSX, thereby violating non-disclosure agreements signed during their time at VIPKid. This lawsuit has been accepted by a district court in Beijing and has VIPKid seeking 8 million yuan (USD 1.13 million) in damages.
This case has been described as the first of its kind in China, as it deals with trade secret theft in the online education industry, which is both a lucrative and competitive industry in the country. The online education industry in China has now received a boost as many people are using this platform for tutoring services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Indian Government Addresses COVID-19 App’s Privacy Concerns

The Indian Government recently launched Arogya Setu, which is a mobile friendly app to enable contact tracing of coronavirus cases, making it easier for citizens to monitor the data with regard COVID-19 in the country. While the government, updated the app and introduced new features, it did not notify the users while updating the app’s privacy policy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had urged the citizens to download this app, following which this app has been download 10 million times from the Google Play Store, since its launch on April 2nd, 2020. The Arogya Setu app was however, riddled with privacy issues as it collected sensitive information from the public and used it without their knowledge. The app’s privacy policy failed to specify that it is a temporary app meant to be used only for contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The absence of any specification with regard to the use of the data gathered through the app, suggests that the app and underlying technology could be used for purposes beyond contact tracing. Further, in the updated app, once a user gives permission to access location and Bluetooth data, the link to the privacy policy is lost, and the app has to be re-installed to get to the privacy policy again. After receiving harsh criticism for the app’s current privacy policy, the government updated the same and addressed certain key issues like, data management, data collection, data use and data retention among others. The provisions with regard to these issues were re-drafted in the app’s privacy policy, in order to ensure that the sensitive data collected from the users of the app is secured.

Apple-Google’s COVID-19 Tracking Plan Faces Data Security Threats

Apple and Google have pooled their resources to create a COVID-19 contact tracing program, which could be a potential target for cybercriminals looking for sensitive health data of individuals infected with the coronavirus. After acknowledging the security risk of this plan, both the companies are in the process of building in a range of security measures, including anonymous identifiers and encryption keys that change every fifteen minutes. This program will host personal data belonging to millions of people, which automatically multiplies the perils of storing such large volume of data. Further, there is always a possibility of this data being hacked by cybercriminals, who will be able to tie the anonymized data back to individuals, including corporate and government officials. Additionally, this program could give rise to problems for health agencies, who could face claims and possible lawsuits for being negligent in security protection or breaching contracts with users who uploaded their COVID-19 data.
Apple and Google will launch this program in two phases, which will include creating an API (application programming interface), for public health authorities’ apps to share anonymous virus information between iPhones and Android devices using Bluetooth technology. By implementing this program both Apple and Google are likely to make themselves extremely vulnerable to potential lawsuits filed by people, for contract tracing data breach. Both the companies will have to ensure that they strictly comply with all the relevant laws that regulate the protection of such sensitive data.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar (Associate, BananaIP Counsels)
The IP, Privacy and Antitrust Law News Bulletin is brought to you by the Consulting/Strategy Division of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected]  with the subject: IP, Privacy and Antitrust  Law News.
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected]  for corrections and take down.

Leave a comment