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CLEAR Sells In-Depth, Private Information Without Consent California Class Action

Who is entitled to compile and sell non-public information on private citizens? One of the plaintiffs in this case, Cat Brooks, “is an activist, who has spent years fighting police violence, particularly in communities of color[,]” says the complaint for this class action. She is a target for white supremacists, and to protect herself and her family, she “works hard to maintain ownership and control over her personal information.” Yet CLEAR, an enterprise of Thomson Reuters Corporation, sells “[h]er address, her cell phone number, and information about her relatives, neighbors, and associates … without her consent.”

The class for this action is all persons living in California whose, name, photographs, personal identifying information, or other personal data was included in the CLEAR database during the appropriate statute of limitations period.

The complaint says, “CLEAR provides access to a database that aggregates both public and non-public information about millions of people and contains detailed cradle-to-grave dossiers on each person, including names, photographs, criminal history, relatives, associates, financial information, and employment information.”

According to the complaint, the data it offers includes “information from third-party data brokers and law enforcement agencies that [is] not available to the general public, including live cell phone records, location data from billions of license plate detections, real[-]time booking information from thousands of facilities, and millions of historical arrest records and intake photos.”

For example, its “risk inform” function cites “flags” for abortion-related conduct, including “Abortional Act on Self” and protest-related conduct, including “Desecrating a Flag” and “Anarchism,” and farther on, conduct such as “Indecent, Obscene or Vulgar Language[,]” “Refusing to Aid a Police Officer[,]” and “Homosexual Activity with a Man [or Woman][.]” Another flag is triggered when people change their names. These, the complaint points out, are most likely to be “women who marry, victims of domestic violence, trans people, and Muslim converts.”

The complaint cites two California laws that are violated by this: First, “California’s common law right of publicity has long protected the right of its residents to determine for themselves whether, how, and to what extent their personal information is disseminated.” Also, its Unfair Competition Law “prohibits corporations from engaging in unlawful and unfair acts, which include appropriating a person’s personal information and selling it without their consent.”

Although an interior page has a link that says, in small font, “For CA: Do not sell my information,” the option is apparently good for only around a year. When Brooks attempted to use the option, she found that the company required a photo of her government-issued ID as well as another photo of her face to process it—something she was not likely to offer in light of the company’s misappropriations up to that point.

The complaint says, Thomson Reuters and its CLEAR service is “depriving Californians of their autonomy, dignity, and ownership of their own identities” in its collecting and selling of their information, without first getting the consent of the subjects and without compensating them.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

CLEAR Sells In-Depth, Private Information Without Consent California Complaint

February 26, 2021

Who is entitled to compile and sell non-public information on private citizens? One of the plaintiffs in this case, Cat Brooks, “is an activist, who has spent years fighting police violence, particularly in communities of color[,]” says the complaint for this class action. She is a target for white supremacists, and to protect herself and her family, she “works hard to maintain ownership and control over her personal information.” Yet CLEAR, an enterprise of Thomson Reuters Corporation, sells “[h]er address, her cell phone number, and information about her relatives, neighbors, and associates … without her consent.”

CLEAR Sells In-Depth, Private Information Without Consent California Complaint

Case Event History

CLEAR Sells In-Depth, Private Information Without Consent California Complaint

February 26, 2021

Who is entitled to compile and sell non-public information on private citizens? One of the plaintiffs in this case, Cat Brooks, “is an activist, who has spent years fighting police violence, particularly in communities of color[,]” says the complaint for this class action. She is a target for white supremacists, and to protect herself and her family, she “works hard to maintain ownership and control over her personal information.” Yet CLEAR, an enterprise of Thomson Reuters Corporation, sells “[h]er address, her cell phone number, and information about her relatives, neighbors, and associates … without her consent.”

CLEAR Sells In-Depth, Private Information Without Consent California Complaint
Tags: Exposing Private Information, Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy