Dow Jones Sharing of Wall Street Journal Subscriber Info Michigan Class Action

Companies can earn money selling information about their customers, and consumers are increasing uncomfortable with this. Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA) tries to combat this. The complaint for this class action alleges that Dow Jones & Company, Inc. violated this law by selling information about subscribers to its Wall Street Journal.

The class for this action is all Michigan residents who, at any time between May 4, 2015 and July 30, 2016, had their Personal Reading Information on a print subscription to the Wall Street Journal disclosed to a third party by Dow Jones without their consent.

Information can be rented or sold, to “data aggregators, data appenders, data cooperatives, and list brokers, among others” who in turn sell the information to “aggressive advertisers, political organizations, and non-profit companies.”

The complaint alleges that Dow Jones disclosed Personal Reading Information of subscribers for a period of a little more than a year, and that this some sunscribers to receive “barrage of junk mail.”

The complaint claims to have documented evidence of this. It alleges that list broker NextMark offers to rent access to the Personal Reading Information of over a million subscribers to the Wall Street Journal in its “News and Business Magazine Subscribers” mailing list, beginning at a price of $170 per thousand.

The complaint reproduces NextMark’s page for this, which says, in part, “The list managers gather consumer data through response to email advertisements sent out by category. Reach responders who have clicked on a related advertisement in the past 30, 60, 90 or 365 days. Every record has at minimum full name, postal and email addresses…”

Quoted in the complaint is Subsection 2 of the PPPA: “[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 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 that by renting the information rather than selling it, Dow Jones can profit from it multiple times. The information on subscribers may also include “myriad other personal, lifestyle, and demographic information such as gender, age, ethnicity, income, religion, parental status, and political affiliation” which is provided to third parties “without the written consent of its customers.”

The plaintiffs in this case are Christopher and Sherree Rentola. Before and during the time Mr. Rentola subscribed to the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones “did not notify Mr. Rentola that it discloses the Personal Reading Information of its customers, and Mr. Rentola has never authorized [DowJones] to do so. Furthermore, Mr. Rentola was never provided any written notice that [Dow Jones] rents, exchanges, or otherwise discloses its customers’ Personal Reading Information, or any means of opting out.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Dow Jones Sharing of Wall Street Journal Subscriber Info Michigan Complaint

June 16, 2020

Companies can earn money selling information about their customers, and consumers are increasing uncomfortable with this. Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA) tries to combat this. The complaint for this class action alleges that Dow Jones & Company, Inc. violated this law by selling information about subscribers to its Wall Street Journal.

Dow Jones Sharing of Wall Street Journal Subscriber Info Michigan Complaint

Case Event History

Dow Jones Sharing of Wall Street Journal Subscriber Info Michigan Complaint

June 16, 2020

Companies can earn money selling information about their customers, and consumers are increasing uncomfortable with this. Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA) tries to combat this. The complaint for this class action alleges that Dow Jones & Company, Inc. violated this law by selling information about subscribers to its Wall Street Journal.

Dow Jones Sharing of Wall Street Journal Subscriber Info Michigan Complaint
Tags: Collecting Personal Data Without Notice/Consent, Sharing Personal Information with Third Parties, Your Privacy