Magazines Sued For Violating California Privacy Law

Source: MediaPost
Author: Wendy Davis
Coverage Type: reporting

Nearly a dozen publishers including Rodale, Conde Nast, Time, Inc. and Hearst Communications have recently been hit with potential class-action lawsuits for allegedly violating a California privacy law.

The publishers, which operate sites like and, allegedly failed to comply with California's "shine the light" law -- a statute enacted in 2003 that governs the sale of customer lists. The law says that companies selling customer lists must allow California residents to either opt out, or learn who is purchasing their names. The California law specifies that businesses must make available contact information -- such as a toll-free number or street address -- for consumers who wish to learn who has purchased data about them. Businesses with brick-and-mortar storefronts in the state can give consumers the contact information in person. But if companies that sell customer lists only have Web presences in the state, they must provide a link to a privacy policy on their home page; the first page of that link must contain a mailing address, e-mail address, toll-free telephone number, or fax number that consumers can use to discover who has bought their names. A 2009 study by researchers at UC Berkeley and Louisiana State University found that many companies weren't in compliance with the law.


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