MI Court: Sale of Subscription Data is a Concrete Injury

The complaint of two individuals against a magazine publisher has been allowed to move forward. The publisher, “Defendant”, had submitted a motion to dismiss the complaint which alleged violation of the Michigan Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA). But it was determined that the individuals successfully alleged that the publisher had violated their privacy rights by disclosing their personal information to data brokers.

Background

The Plaintiffs claim that the Defendant rents, exchanges, or otherwise discloses their customers’ personal information in violation of PPPA. Allegedly, the Defendant disclosed:

  • Full names
  • Addresses
  • Names of magazines they subscribed to

This information was passed onto data mining companies without obtaining the consumers’ consent or providing notice of the disclosure.

The Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the Plaintiffs do not have a standing as they have not suffered an injury.

PPPA

Section 2 of PPPA prohibits individuals engaged in the business of selling at retail, renting or lending books of other written materials from disclosing to any person a record or information concerning the purchase of materials that indicates the identity of the customer.

Court Decision

The Court decided that the Plaintiffs have successfully pleaded a concrete injury by alleging:

  • Defendant violated their privacy rights by disclosing personal reading information to data mining companies
  • The violation of the PPPA implicates their concrete interest in the non-disclosure of their personal information without their permission
  • Their subscriptions without privacy protections are substantially less valuable than subscriptions with privacy protections

Making sure your company is handling data correctly has become a minefield. Find out more about how Value Privacy can help you.

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