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CNET Subscription Information Disclosed to Third Parties Michigan Class Action

CNET Media, Inc. publishes CNET magazine, but the magazine itself is not its only way of earning money. The complaint alleges that CNET disclosed information about private subscriptions to CNET magazine to data aggregators, data cooperatives, and list brokers, among others, which then disclosed the information to advertisers, political organizations, and nonprofits. The complaint claims that this violates Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA).

The class for this action is all Michigan residents who, at any point during the pre-July 30, 2016 time period (before the amendment of the PPPA as of July 31, 2016), had their Private Reading Information disclosed to third parties by CNET without their consent.

The PPPA generally tries to protect citizens’ privacy in their choice of reading material. The complaint quotes its Subsection 2 as saying that “a person, or an employee or agent of the person, engaged in the business of selling at retail, renting, or lending books or other written materials … shall not disclose to any other person, other than the customer, a record or information concerning the purchase … of those materials by a customer that indicates the identity of the customer.”

The complaint alleges, “CNET rents, exchanges, or otherwise discloses its customers’ information—including their full names, titles of publications subscribed to, and home addresses … as well as myriad other categories of individualized data and demographic information such as age, gender, and income—to data aggregators, data appenders, data cooperatives, and other third parties without the written consent of its customers.”

The complaint alleges that CNET rents or exchanges the information, rather than selling it, because it can then disclose and charge for the information again and again.

As an example, the complaint reproduces a page from NextMark, Inc., a list broker, called “CNET Magazine Subscribers Mailing List.” A rental fee offers access to the private reading information to more than 455,000 subscribers of the magazine. The “Selects” for the list include such things as gender, geographical location, and home or business address.

The plaintiff in this case, Richard Bebber, bought a subscription to CNET magazine directly from CNET Media.

The complaint alleges, “Prior to and at the time [Bebber] subscribed to CNET, CNET did not notify [him] that it discloses the Private Reading Information of its customers, and [Bebber] has never authorized CNET to do so.” Bebber was never given any kind of written notice that CNET disclosed its customers’ Private Reading Information nor was he given any means of opting out.

Bebber contends that his privacy was violated, and the complaint reports that he “has received a barrage of unwanted junk mail.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

CNET Subscription Information Disclosed to Third Parties Michigan Complaint

August 6, 2021

CNET Media, Inc. publishes CNET magazine, but the magazine itself is not its only way of earning money. The complaint alleges that CNET disclosed information about private subscriptions to CNET magazine to data aggregators, data cooperatives, and list brokers, among others, which then disclosed the information to advertisers, political organizations, and nonprofits. The complaint claims that this violates Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA).

CNET Subscription Information Disclosed to Third Parties Michigan Complaint

Case Event History

CNET Subscription Information Disclosed to Third Parties Michigan Complaint

August 6, 2021

CNET Media, Inc. publishes CNET magazine, but the magazine itself is not its only way of earning money. The complaint alleges that CNET disclosed information about private subscriptions to CNET magazine to data aggregators, data cooperatives, and list brokers, among others, which then disclosed the information to advertisers, political organizations, and nonprofits. The complaint claims that this violates Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA).

CNET Subscription Information Disclosed to Third Parties Michigan Complaint
Tags: Sharing Personal Information with Third Parties, Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy