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Employee fired for deleting privacy invading app

A Californian woman is suing her former employee after being fired for deleting an app that was tracking her movements at all times.

The company instructed her to run the app, which monitored her via GPS, 24 hours a day.

Read more: How much is a customer’s privacy worth to a company?

According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Myrna Arias alleges that her employer, money transfer firm Intermex, fired her after she uninstalled job management app Xora. She also alleges that her boss John Stubits boasted about being able to monitor her during out-of-work hours.

“Stubits admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she installed the app on her phone,” reads the lawsuit. “Plaintiff expressed that she had no problem with the app's GPS function during work hours, but she objected to the monitoring of her location during non-work hours and complained to Stubits that this was an invasion of her privacy.”

Ms Arias is seeking damages in excess of $500,000 (£320,000) claiming a breach of privacy, unfair business practices and other allegations. After criticising her for deleting the app, Mr Stubits subsequently fired Ms Arias, despite her meeting all company quotas.

The Kern County Superior Court were also told that although the app had a “clock in/out” option, this did not affect the GPS tracking feature, which remained active constantly.

Ms Arias argues that the app’s pervasive monitoring made her feel like a “criminal” and that the termination of her contract “was in violation of fundamental, basic and substantial public policies of the State of California.”

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ArsTechnica reports that Intermex have not yet publicly responded to the allegations.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.