Not surprisingly, both Casper and NaviStone reject notions that this amounted to spying on visitors. Casper described the lawsuit to CBS as a “blatant attempt to cash in on and extort” a rapidly growing startup. NaviStone was caught off-guard by the lawsuit, but has said that it takes privacy laws seriously and wanted to “clear up any misunderstandings” about what its web tracking tools do. It doesn’t link email addresses to personal information, for instance.

There is good reason to be skeptical of a potential class action suit, since it’s all too common to see lawyers encourage them in a bid to get their name in the spotlight over a hot-button issue. However, this isn’t the first time questions have surfaced over NaviStone’s tools. Gizmodo recently learned that dozens of websites (such as Quicken Loans) used NaviStone, and its reporting led to NaviStone backing away from a practice of emailing customers who’d typed in their addresses but never sent them. Users clearly aren’t consenting to or aware of the data sharing, and while Casper may only have intended to pitch would-be mattress buyers, there are serious privacy implications if it was identifying those customers before they’d even clicked a “submit” button.

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