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FTC Recommends Conditions For Sale of RadioShack Customer Data 54

itwbennett writes: The FTC has weighed in on the contentious issue of the proposed sale of consumer data by RadioShack, recommending that a settlement with failed online toy retailer be adopted as a model for dealings going forward. Director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection Jessica L. Rich wrote in a letter to a court-appointed consumer privacy ombudsman that the agency's concerns about the transfer of customer information inconsistent with RadioShack's privacy promises "would be greatly diminished if certain conditions were met." These include: that the data was not sold standalone, and if the buyer is in the same lines of business, they agree to be bound by the same privacy policies.
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FTC Recommends Conditions For Sale of RadioShack Customer Data

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  • by thaylin ( 555395 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @02:37PM (#49720413)

    Of requiring the buyer to commit to the same privacy policy if you allow that privacy policy to be broken?

    • Well, you can just resell your purchased item to a third party and then they are no longer beholden to any original agreements. Oh, wait, you're not a corporation? Never mind.

  • Joy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @02:46PM (#49720531)
    Finally, proof that we are the product.

    But if we are the product, can we sue for our share of the payout?

    Since only coprorations are now people and people are not people, we'll all have to form little corporations of course, in order ot get our due.

    • People are Corporations too!

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

      Finally, proof that we are the product.
      But if we are the product, can we sue for our share of the payout?

      From the FTC's perspective, you're not the product, but your information is a business asset.

      Your information would already go along with the business in any change of control or merger -- the privacy policy did not preclude that. And yes, your information has value in that context, just like any customer list, but you do not have any claim upon that value. You gave the business the right to use it in

      • by edjs ( 1043612 )

        An added wrinkle are other corps claiming that Radio Shack is holding their proprietary customer data (presumably related to cel phone and plan sales) and demanding that such data not be included in the sale: []

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Bingo. You are not the product, your personal information is. You gave that information away for free, so don't get any compensation. Due to the special nature of the information it has some special protections, but that's it.

        Next time some company asks for my data I'm going to offer them a subscription service.

  • by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @02:49PM (#49720569) Homepage
    I knew that my information would get out eventually. In the last 15 years I would only go in to buy specific things (none in the last 5+ years). Every time I would pay cash and give the clerk false information. I'm so very glad I did.
    • by VAXcat ( 674775 )
      Yep. The only data they've got on me is that my name is Larry Talbot, and that I live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane....
      • They would know me as Charles (Chuck) U. Farley. I made up the street address every time.
      • I'm Mr Underwood. I live at 123 Fletch Lane.
    • by Krojack ( 575051 )

      If you're paying in cash then why would you even have to supply ANY information. I know places like Target ask for a zip code but that's just to see how far people are driving so they can plane where to build new stores.

      • Technically, you don't. But the sales clerks were pushy about it. I think they got in trouble if they had any transactions without personal information. For me, it was all about time efficiency. Take a few seconds to give them false information or stand there and argue with them for a lot longer. The one that got me out the door faster was the the route I took. As they stopped stocking the parts I wanted to buy, I stopped going to their stores. So did pretty much everyone else from what I gather.
    • by steveg ( 55825 )

      I never gave them any false information.

      I told them my name was Cash.

  • Now everyone's going to know that I by "loose capacitors", ahem!

  • never seen one without "policy subject to change without notice."

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Sure but some of us live in parts of the world where notice is required. It's nice, you americans should give it a try.

  • by jddj ( 1085169 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @03:17PM (#49720871) Journal

    ...all those Goddamned batteries...

  • What are the odds that the privacy policy states that it can be rewritten at any time without needing to notify the subjects?

    I'd abide by that policy...for as long as it took me to draw a massive cock all over it and replace it with one saying I can sell your data to whoever I like.

    • "I'd abide by that policy...for as long as it took me to draw a massive cock all over it"

      I've always admired people who could draw things they've never seen!

      • "I'd abide by that policy...for as long as it took me to draw a massive cock all over it"

        I've always admired people who could draw things they've never seen!

        Perhaps it is a self portrait?

  • So, as a foreign visitor, I walk into a RS shop to get a SD card. I pay for the goods, and that's all.

    What gave RS or its debtors the right to turn my personal information into merchandise?

  • I gave a fake name and random zip code all the times I went there in the 90's and early 2000's, looks like it paid off.

  • No.

    Do you need batteries?


    The fine line between opsec and paranoia.

  • oops (Score:4, Funny)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @04:10PM (#49721365) Homepage Journal

    I hope there's not really a John Q. Public living at 1 Happy Street*, Beverly Hills, 90210. If so... apologies in advance, mate.

    * From My Blue Heaven []

    "What the frig is the address here?"

    "How should I know... Number One Happy Street!"

    • It was actually Todd Wilkinson and it was in Fryburg, CA which was a fictional San Diego suburb. But yeah, I used that address more than once myself.
      • by sootman ( 158191 )

        Yeah, it's obviously a mixture of things. But "#1 Happy Street" always made me giggle. :-)

  • The last time I gave them anything was a phone number in the early '80s that I've put much distance since.
  • It was revealed that the FTC's biggest concern is Radio Shack's subterranean cache of over 35,000 tons of yellow slips of carbon paper dating as far back as the 1960s, which correlate names, addresses and phone numbers to detailed lists of discreet electronic components. Who knows what kind of embarrassments would ensue if all of those dots got connected with modern data mining techniques.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What happened to 3rd parties like Apple and AT&T that not only required Radio Shack to sign off that the data collected while purchasing their products was NOT Radio Shack's property AND the fact that both companies (maybe others too?) have legally asked that that data is not transferable? I think that's an important point that needs a LOT of attention so other manufacturers can step up and protect their customers.

Air is water with holes in it.