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Privacy Books Your Rights Online

Borders Books Customers, Watch For Database Opt-Out Email 88

Posted by timothy
from the you'd-think-opt-in-would-be-more-polite dept.
An anonymous reader writes "That email you might be getting from Barnes and Noble might not be spam, but rather your only chance to prevent the comprehensive record of your buying history at defunct arch-rival Borders from ending up in B&N's data warehouse. You have15 days after the email arrives, assuming that it ever does, since chances are the email address you originally signed up with Borders is long gone." For that very reason, this sounds like a good place for the terms of the bankruptcy to require opting in, rather than opting out.
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Borders Books Customers, Watch For Database Opt-Out Email

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  • I always knew there was a reason I never gave Borders SHIT when they asked. And boy, did they ever ask. More like DEMAND.

    • by lymond01 (314120)

      If you'd just provide your home telephone number and email address, I'll be happy to reply to your post in a meaningful way.

      I wonder if my Borders Reward Points, along with my personal information, will transfer to B&N. At least that would be something.

  • I realize the importance of the general principle here (that companies shouldn't be allowed to treat customer db's as assets). But as a practical matter in this case, does it really matter? Is Barnes and Noble knowing my book buying history any different than Borders knowing it? If I were so paranoid about B&N knowing it, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have bought on Borders under my real name in the first place.

    • Yeah, its all a bit stupid. The main point was that borders agreed to not sell your information to anyone. Well, they also promised to pay their suppliers money for the goods and services provided. In a bankruptcy, the judge ends up deciding who's promises are kept and at what level. It should not be a surprise to anyone that these lists could be sold in the case of a bankruptcy. In fact, I'd argue people should be thankful that they ended up in the hands of barns and nobles, rather than Jim's discount orga

    • This is exactly why when I got the email I shrugged and deleted it. Life is too short to spend precious time worrying about dumb shit like this. In fact, I will now cease commenting on it and go back to downing mimosas.
  • "For that very reason, this sounds like a good place for the terms of the bankruptcy to require opting in, rather than opting out."

    This makes no sense? Why would anybody op in for more marketing?

    On a side note, Borders in in bankruptcy. That means the judge gets to void any contract they like and sell any asset they like - like marketing lists. If we want to address this, it needs to be addressed at the Federal level.

    • Why would anybody op in for more marketing?

      I can't answer this question, but as someone who is regularly tasked with fixing technical bits of online sweepstakes, I certainly can tell you that people do opt-in for marketing with valid email, phone number, and home address in great quantities. The prizes are unimpressive and the odds of winning are astronomical, but people still sign up.

      I guess there's always some incentive there, and in this case the incentive will be something as small as the chance to receive great offers from esteemed partners. Ma

      • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

        I've won twice online for things (CPU & Mobo from AMD and an HDTV). So my relatives regularly want me to sign up for things thinking I somehow am more lucky then them.

    • by Myopic (18616)

      Why would anybody op in for more marketing?

      Uh, presumably because they want it.

      And if there is some thing which nobody ever wants, then why would we live in a world where that thing is so incredibly common while at the same time being so easy to get rid of?

      Listen, people: if we don't want to be surrounded by advertising all the time, we don't have to be. If we want to, we could get rid of most of it with a few simple changes to the law.

    • by tftp (111690)

      Why would anybody op in for more marketing?

      I can't speak for everybody, but I personally have signed up for a couple of mailing lists of publishers. Of course I haven't given them any true personal data, and the email that they have is a long, unique address under my own domain.

      I signed up because I'm interested in books of these genres and it doesn't bother me to have Thunderbird filter and file those emails into a certain folder. Then when I have nothing better to do I can go through the new announce

  • According to the email I received, go to www.bn.com/borders and enter the email you registered under. You'll need access to that account to click through the confirmation email...
    • by Smallpond (221300)

      So wait. To get out of turning your email address over to B&N you have to give your email address to B&N? ** Holds hand up **

      Anyway there's nothing one-sided about this. You are perfectly free to make a list of all of the companies that do business with you and sell the list to whoever you like.

      • Jokes on B&N, they already HAVE my email address!!

        • Har. and like me I'd wager you don't give a rat's ass. On the contrary, you'll occasionally take advantage of some discount or other. People are blowing this way out of proportion out of sheer boredom or something.
      • by fafaforza (248976)

        B&N isn't some faceless entity using Windows machines with worms on them to relay their spam. If you get mail from them after opting out, then you could pursue damages under CAN-SPAM.

        (queue a cynical response about B&N being no different, and instead selling the info to a subsidiary or something)

  • Generally I'm a fan of opt-in and agree that should be the option, but the bankruptcy court's job is to recover the maximum amount of money for the people Borders owed money to. The database is worth more opt-out, so don't expect a change there. Of the options available, none really good, B&N getting the database is not that bad. I have a buying history with Borders, Amazon and B&N, so integrating my buying history from Borders with B&N is a far preferable outcome to the database being sold t
    • by KiloByte (825081)

      Uhm no, it's not an "asset", it's a limited license to use your personal data for some purposes. The judge suddenly decided that the license from _you_, a third party to the bankruptcy, can be somehow extended without your consent.

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        can be somehow extended without your consent.

        Unfortunately, you do consent when you click the "I Agree" button. It was clearly stated in their terms that your data would be given to other companies if they merged or where bought.

        It sucks that we can't buy anything these days without signing these kind of mostly one sides "you have little choice" type agreements.. but it's reality.

      • by Myopic (18616)

        My guess is that the judge "suddenly decided" that way because the terms of the program license as well as the governing law determined the decision. I'm not a lawyer, though, and I haven't read this case either.

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          EVERY "agree to click" thing includes terms about your first born and so on. The problem is, the enforcement is uneven. If the law decided that every single term is valid (and also, shouldn't be left "just in case"), it would be almost as good since people would have to actually read click-throughs.

          Fortunately, on my current side of the pond, personal data cannot be so trivially sold. I almost did end up on yours, though, so I'm scared about how things are.

          • by Myopic (18616)

            Yeah. I wish the law were different, but it's not. What country are you from, which protects you so?

            I hope you don't say Britain; I'd rather live in a country where B&N can buy Borders' customer records, than a theocratic monarchy where government cameras watch over me while I don't have the free-speech rights to call quacks out for their nonsense.

      • Yeah, no. Its an asset. How do I know its an asset? Because B&N was willing to pay money for it. That makes it an asset. I'm sure other stake holders like vendors wanted the money borders agreed to pay them too. The judges' job is to figure out how to break promises AND contracts in the most fair and equitable way.

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          So if I want to pay money for a slice of your heart (so I can cook it), would a judge help me with it?

          Permission to use that data belongs to a third party (the customers), so it didn't belong to Borders in the first place (they had only a limited one with non-disclosure). No matter if someone promises me that slice of your heart, there is no way a sane law would enforce that promise on you, as this was not a part of any contract you made.

          • Great analogy! Its just like when your head explodes in a black hole the brain turns into a 66 Chevy! Color me convinced!

          • by fafaforza (248976)

            I'm sure there are markets where you could sell that heart, and the illegality of it probably makes that asset worth a lot more. So yes, still an asset.

      • Which makes it a LIABILITY for Borders, as far as I'm concerned.

  • I got the email last week. I'm fine with B&N knowing what books I bought at Borders. Now maybe B&N will realize how much more I spent there because of coupons and start offering coupons themselves.
  • by Sharkus (677553) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @09:36AM (#37598194)
    The URL you want is: http://www.bn.com/borders [bn.com] which redirects to: http://ebm.cheetahmail.com/r/regf2?a=0&aid=266639891&n=100 [cheetahmail.com]
    Full text of the aforementioned email from B&N below.


    Dear Borders Customer,

    My name is William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, and I'm writing to you today on behalf of the entire B&N team to make you aware of important information regarding your Borders account.

    First of all let me say Barnes & Noble uniquely appreciates the importance bookstores play within local communities, and we're very sorry your Borders store closed.

    As part of Borders ceasing operations, we acquired some of its assets including Borders brand trademarks and their customer list. The subject matter of your DVD and other video purchases will be part of the transferred information. The federal bankruptcy court approved this sale on September 26, 2011.

    Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try and earn your business. The majority of our stores are within close proximity to former Borders store locations, and for those that aren't, we offer our award- winning NOOK digital reading devices that provide a bookstore in your pocket. We are readers like you, and hope that through our stores, NOOK devices, and our bn.com online bookstore we can win your trust and provide you with a place to read and shop.

    It's important for you to understand however you have the absolute right to opt-out of having your customer data transferred to Barnes & Noble. If you would like to opt-out, we will ensure all your data we receive from Borders is disposed of in a secure and confidential manner. Please visit www.bn.com/borders before October 15, 2011 to do so.

    Should you choose not to opt-out by October 15, 2011, be assured your information will be covered under the Barnes & Noble privacy policy, which can be accessed at www.bn.com/privacy. B&N will maintain any of your data according to this policy and our strict privacy standards.

    At Barnes & Noble we share your love of books — whatever shape they take. We also take our responsibility to service communities by providing a local bookstore very seriously. In the coming weeks, assuming you don't opt-out, you'll be hearing from us with some offers to encourage you to shop our stores and try our NOOK products. We hope you'll give us a chance to be your bookstore.
    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      Yeah, I got the email as well. It's remarkably reasonable (at least as much as it can be with an opt-out system, and they wouldn't have bought the data if it was strictly opt-in because it wouldn't make business sense). Note that the section on how to opt-out is bolded in the original.

      B&N already had my email so it's a moot point for me.

  • OMG...they went bankrupt and sold a portion of their company to...to...to...um the other big box book store.

    Um, gee, considering 90% of those who went to Borders also frequently B&N. Is this really an issue. Yes, I am sure there is that rare handful of people who were so offending by the fact that B&N put Glenn Beck's book on a front stand that they vowed never to do business with B&N again.

    But seriously, for most book reading folks. We're not bothered. And heck, we're waiting for that 40% off o

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Some may fear the barista at the B&N Starbucks will now know the consumer was "cheating" on her with the barista of the Border's... coffee spot place... and that now she will never give them her phone number and miss any chance of dating her! :P

      • by demonbug (309515)

        Some may fear the barista at the B&N Starbucks will now know the consumer was "cheating" on her with the barista of the Border's... coffee spot place... and that now she will never give them her phone number and miss any chance of dating her! :P

        The Borders coffee place was Seattle's Best, at least at my local Borders... which, of course, is owned by Starbucks. So you were basically cheating on her with her sister. Well, maybe half sister.

        Hot, like coffee.

    • by DavidTC (10147)

      Yeah, this is somewhat stupid.

      People signed up to get notifications about email books from Borders. They created an account at Borders that allowed Borders to track them. (I have never bought from Border online, but I assume that they could have purchased without one, like you can at B&N.)

      Now Barnes and Noble, for all intents and purposes, is Borders. They are now doing that. They appear to be doing exactly what Borders did with that data.

      I am baffled as to what the problem is even supposed to be.

      An

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Those of us concerned with privacy are worried by the likes of a company continually selling their lists off to any business that wants it.

      That is in fact precisely the issue here.

      Its not that B&N another book store acquired the lists from Borders through the bankruptcy.

      Its specifically that B&N asserted that they shouldn't be bound by Borders privacy policy.

      ie. B&N essentially started out by specifically asserting that it is in fact free to continually sell of the lists to any business that wan

  • by Tharsman (1364603) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @09:39AM (#37598232)

    I got to say, I dont care in this case, unless B&N has a history of selling their customer data I don't know about, that is.

    But this is just a company that (from my understanding) has exactly the same line of business than a company I entrusted my purchase data to. Not only that, now, if I want to buy books, the only big chain option is Barns & Nobles so I would likely restart my history there anyways.

    So, why so many are making a buzz over this?

    If this was Google or Facebook buying the data to "better target ads", I'd be hunting my junkmail to dig out that email and make sure I opt out.

  • I have my own domain and email server. Every company gets it's own email address. I don't want to get from a company anymore, or I start getting spam to a specific address, I simply delete that address. You know, like I did to Border's email address when they went out of business.

  • The Toysmart precedent, which was used by the FTC here, is that selling the information is allowed only if the purchaser is in the same business and agrees to obey the same privacy policy. While it does violate any pledge not to sell your data at all, selling data under these circumstances can't cause most of the harm that selling your data normally causes. It's not as if they would be allowed to sell it to Facebook or Publisher's Clearing House.

    About the only realistic situation I can think of where some

  • It's the previous and ongoing sharing.

    This is my idea for a novel. In a future world, not too distant, everything you buy is known by multiple corporations, immediately. If you buy a new shirt and slacks, well, you get an offer on your deck for a deal on a new belt and shoes. If you buy cereal, you get a prompt directing you to where the new fortified milk is.

    As they fully develop your profile, they start sending you specific advertisments, everywhere, so that inevitably you only see stuff that you *shou

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