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Huge Online Store Battles Allegations of Data Theft in New Legal Challenge

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  • Temu, an e-commerce platform, is facing a lawsuit filed by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, alleging it as a “theft business” that steals users’ data.
  • The lawsuit alleges that Temu illegally accesses consumers’ personal information, including their camera, location, contacts, text messages, documents, and other applications. Griffin claims that this information is then sold to third parties.
  • Temu defends against these allegations, stating that the lawsuit is based on misinformation and that they will vigorously defend themselves.

In the realm of e-commerce, Temu has emerged as a convenient platform for consumers seeking competitive prices. However, the platform is now facing legal challenges, accused of being a “theft business” that steals data from its users.

Since its launch in the U.S. in September 2022, Temu has been leveraging a network of Chinese manufacturers to ship items directly to shoppers. This setup has allowed the company to offer a broad range of products at very competitive prices.

“Temu was created with the goal of empowering consumers by giving them access to a broad range of carefully curated products at competitive prices,” the company stated in a press release during its U.S. launch.

Due to its aggressive marketing strategies, such as TikTok haul videos and Super Bowl ads, Temu’s popularity has surged over the past two years. Its website has attracted more than 358.2 million visitors, and the app has reached over 29.6 million downloads, according to data from Analyzify.

However, this rapid rise has led to repercussions. Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has recently filed a lawsuit against Temu, accusing it of illegally accessing and stealing consumers’ personal data.

“Temu is not just an online marketplace,” Griffin stated in a press release. “It is seen as a business that sells goods online as a means to an end.”

The lawsuit has been filed against Temu’s parent companies, PDD Holdings Inc. and WhaleCo Inc., for allegedly violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and the Arkansas Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).

According to the lawsuit, “Temu is purposefully designed to gain unrestricted access to a user’s phone operating system, including, but not limited to, a user’s camera, specific location, contacts, text messages, documents, and other applications.”

Griffin alleges that the platform then “monetizes this unauthorized collection of data by selling it to third parties, profiting at the direct expense of Arkansans’ privacy rights.”

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This is not the first time Temu has been associated with trust concerns. In 2023, Apple suspended Temu from its digital app store, prompting several investigations into the company’s dealings, including an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Congress. Notwithstanding these issues, a 2024 survey discovered that only 4 percent of U.S. consumers trust Temu more than Amazon.

“What Temu is doing is selling goods at a low price, not to make a profit off of those, but as a way to get into your phone, your device, and to collect your data,” Griffin explained.

In response to the lawsuit, a Temu spokesperson stated that the company was “surprised and disappointed” by the allegations and accused Griffin of filing his suit “without any independent fact-finding.”

“The allegations in the lawsuit are based on misinformation circulated online, primarily from a short-seller, and are totally unfounded. We categorically deny the allegations and will vigorously defend ourselves,” the spokesperson stated.

As the situation unfolds, users of the popular e-commerce platform are advised to stay informed of developments to ensure the privacy and security of their personal information.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. James De franco

    July 10, 2024 at 9:10 am

    I’m very concerned about this and I want to know how I can automaticaly get the latest news in relation to this? Thank You

  2. Rachel

    July 10, 2024 at 10:51 am

    I have never bought anything from Temu and never will because they are a Chinese company and I do not trust them. Same reason I don’t have a TikTok account. a year ago, there was a story in the news that Temu does not make that much on the sales, rather they make more selling your information.

  3. Maria

    July 10, 2024 at 7:59 pm

    Reading about this lawsuit over Temu and TikTok makes me upset. Temu indeed offers appealing and affordable products that take us by surprise and divert our attention away from any doubts about the company. It’s very easy to fall into this spiral of buying products that would be too expensive to purchase, but Temu makes it available to the unsuspected shopper what’s really happening. Now the question is how to get out of this situation as quickly as possible, closing out accounts for starters, then what? Can you help us with information to do that and put an end to the buying? IT WILL BE greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  4. Elizabeth Butler

    July 12, 2024 at 4:26 pm

    Very interesting that the challenge to Temu is coming from the AG for the state that is headquarters for a well known huge cut-price retailer.

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