Juliette Margaret Tafoya

Job title: 
Class of 2022
2022 Percy Undergraduate Grant

Juliette is a fourth year Legal Studies Major, Public Policy Minor. Her concentration of study is in Constitutional Law and History. She received a Certificate of Commendation from the City of Los Angeles for her outstanding service in the community when she worked for the city. She previously worked for the Restorative Justice Center at UC Berkeley, where she helped build community and address social harm happening within the university. Juliette has been involved with multiple organizations on campus, ranging from her Political Computer Science club to participating in Latinx geared orgs, of which she is a part of that community. Her passion for research is what brought her to study areas of law and privacy, and uncover multiple discoveries about Big Tech’s motivation to revolutionize privacy precedent and consumer protection. She wishes to highlight issues involving the area of privacy in order to shine light and bring reform for the protection of society as a whole.

Juliette's Research: My research is a continuation of a case study in Class Actions and Arbitrations I was researching over the summer under the supervision of Professor Malcolm M Feeley, Claire Sanders Clements Dean's Professor of Law, Emeritus. My case study specifically focused on the motivation behind Amazon’s change in their Conditions of Use, under their Dispute clause. The Big Tech company changed a two paragraph arbitration agreement, which waived Amazon consumers’ rights to file any claims about products in court, to a three line revision. This new agreement required Amazon customers to file claims in the State or Federal Courts of King County, Washington, the location of Amazon’s headquarters. In my case study, I discovered the motivation behind Amazon’s Dispute clause change. After reaching out to multiple attorneys representing the big tech company and doing my own calculations on public fee knowledge in arbitration and class action lawsuits, I discovered more than a quarter of a billion dollars was saved with that 3 line change. Specifically, up to $352,500,000 for In-Person, Virtual or Telephonic Hearing Arbitration. However, I left my research hanging in such a way that I found Amazon had other political motivations, aside from losing hundreds of millions of dollars in initial filing fees. Washington State tried passing the Washington Privacy Act, at the same time that Amazon was going through multiple class action lawsuits about their Echo Dots listening in on consumers and minors without their consent. I would like to follow the money trail, beginning in Washington and then to other states that have privacy pending legislation, and figure out which lawmakers are being lobbied by Amazon and Big Tech companies to pass privacy legislation weaker than the California Invasion of Privacy Act and more in favor towards them. Enough change at the state scale could set enough momentum for legislation to be passed at the national scale, and therefore in turn, have favorable rulings in the judicial system. The way I have interpreted these companies’ direction: affect intrastate commerce first in order to affect interstate commerce. This has been done before in different areas of society, such as the automobile industry. I am going to continue studying this specific and impactful event in the area of privacy and consumer protection and continue to monitor the money trail.

Research interests: 

Major(s): Legal Studies

Minor(s): Public Policy