Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lawsuits Challenge U.S. Online Data Brokers

A Reuters newswire article by Terry Baynes reports:

Two lawsuits in federal court in California that challenge the way a popular online data-mining company does business could give consumers more privacy protection from firms that sell personal information on the Web.

In the most recent complaint, filed last week in the Central District of California, plaintiff Thomas Robins alleged that Spokeo Inc. violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by offering false data about individuals without giving them the chance to correct or remove inaccurate reports.

The suit alleged that Robins' Spokeo profile was rife with misinformation, stating that he was in his 50s, married with children and employed in a professional field. Robins is actually in his 20s, single and has no children. He argued that such false representations have hurt his employment prospects, causing him anxiety and lost earnings.

In a similar suit filed in September in the Northern District of California, plaintiff Jennifer Purcell alleged that Spokeo marketed her personal information in violation of the FCRA, which restricts who can access personal information. Both Robins and Purcell are seeking class-action status for their cases.

More here.


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