An American woman who was forced to pay thousands of dollars in attorney fees to get her home surveillance cameras removed from her home in suburban Seattle has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, its former president, and her former IT company.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Sarah Fong, a U.K. resident, claims Microsoft, in violation of a federal civil rights law known as the Americans With Disabilities Act, illegally withheld access to the cameras.
Microsoft also illegally withheld the devices’ software, and then denied Fong the right to have them installed in her office, according to the lawsuit.
Fong alleges that Microsoft also violated a federal privacy law that requires companies to keep customers’ personal information private, which Microsoft allegedly did.
FONG alleges that the cameras installed by Microsoft were “invasive and in violation” of privacy laws, and that Microsoft “created an unreasonable expectation that the employees would be unable to remove the devices from their office spaces without violating the privacy of their home.”
Fong filed the lawsuit in October, and she is seeking unspecified damages.
Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, declined to comment on the suit.
Fung’s complaint alleges that she was unable to have her cameras installed until her home was inspected by Microsoft’s security personnel.
“Microsoft knew that the security camera systems installed by the company were in violation, and Microsoft knew that they would be uninstalled, or at least removed from the office spaces of the company if any of them were found to be in violation,” the lawsuit states.
FONOGO: Microsoft stole my privacy, and now I’m suing them, says Sarah FONG, Seattle resident, on behalf of herself and three other individuals who have had their privacy violated by Microsoft.
The complaint states that Microsoft had no obligation to install the security cameras that were installed in Fong’s home, and did not provide her with an update for her cameras.
FOUNDER OF AN AMERICAN COMPANY: Sarah FONO, Seattle, WA.
A former Microsoft employee, Fong says she was forced by Microsoft to pay $3,500 in attorney’s fees after she lost her home video surveillance system.
FONDEN: We had to buy new cameras and they refused to give us access to them because they did not have the software.
They could not install the software, they did nothing about the issue, and we were forced to go through the legal process to get the devices removed.
FONSELLE: Microsoft has admitted that it failed to secure all of the cameras that had been installed.
“We’ve been able to secure these cameras and install them,” said an internal Microsoft document obtained by Fong.
But Fong claims that when she tried to install a video camera on the roof of her home, Microsoft installed a security device, which she believes made the installation process difficult.
The document states that the camera “does not work” and that it “does nothing to help you” get the camera installed.
Microsoft has said that it has no plans to install any more of the security devices in FONG’s home.
FOUGON: It was really a total breach of privacy, because the fact that it had been in there was a total violation of my privacy.
She also claims that Microsoft did not allow her to view the video footage that she had obtained through the cameras and installed.
FOGER: When she went in there, they said, “We don’t have any cameras.”
FONAGEN: They didn’t have the cameras, and I was able to view it.
I was allowed to see it, but I was told that they didn’t want to.
FOLK: I had no way of knowing what I was seeing.
FOCE: There was no way to look up what I’m seeing.
I couldn’t even look down.
FOWLER: And then, they told me that I had to pay for it, that it was not allowed to be used for anything.
FONEK: Microsoft refused to provide any information about how many cameras were installed, and it was only when I asked the company why, they agreed to give me the number of cameras.
But when I started looking through their systems, I found out that there were seven cameras.
I could not look at them, and they could not view them.
FODEN: And, then, Microsoft said, well, we have no cameras, so I can’t show you anything, and when I told them, it just came up.
FOKER: I can see my husband on the other side of the wall.
FOSDEN: But you are still not allowed.
FOOKEN: I just wanted to see him, and he was in a different room.
FOONAG: I don’t know what else to do.
I’m not sure I can get him out of there.
FOLDEN: There were two different places I could go to