Earlier this year, Borders declared bankruptcy and reignited the recent debate over whether digital readers have replaced the print medium. This week, a Bankruptcy judge’s decision to allow the bankrupt company to sell its customer list to Barnes and Noble has reignited the debate, this time among lawmakers, about whether consumers need additional privacy laws to protect their information from such B2B transactions.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), yesterday released a statement via his website criticizing the court’s decision and calling for higher privacy standards:
“Profiting from personal, sometimes sensitive consumer information – illustrated by this regrettable arrangement – is spreading perniciously. This settlement points to a clear and urgent need for stronger and stringent protections for consumer privacy. The settlement reached between Borders and Barnes and Noble is wholly inadequate and unacceptable. Consumers are unprotected unless they explicitly opt out. Instead, their specific consent should be requested. In addition, Barnes and Noble – and other corporations acquiring huge volumes of consumer information – must demonstrate safeguards to prevent breaches of such data.”
Sen. Blumenthal’s website also linked to an opt-out option for consumers:
Borders customers would like to opt out of the Barnes and Noble list can do so by visiting www.bn.com/borders by October 29.
Meanwhile it looks like John McCain’s and John Kerry’s Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act, which makes opt-out options obligatory, is making its way through the committee process.
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