Privacy policies in court

Venkat has an analysis of a case where an individual provided a unique address to a vendor and that vendor released the address in violation of the posted privacy policy. The federal court rejected the suit due to the failure of the plaintiff to provide evidence of harm.
I posted last week about privacy policies and how often they are intentionally or unintentionally violated and when email addresses leak. Courts have consistently ruled against plaintiffs. It seems that the courts believe merely revealing information, even in contradiction to a posted privacy policy, is not actionable by the plaintiff.
As a consumer, I really don’t like the ruling. If a company is going to post a privacy policy, then they should follow it and if they don’t, I should be able to hold them responsible for their lies. Back in the land of reality, I am not surprised at the rulings. Individuals have never owned their personal information, it is the property of the people who compile and sell data
It does mean, however, that privacy polices are not worth the paper they’re written on.


  1. Jay says

    Since these privacy policies aren’t written on paper at all, rather they appear in tiny little print at the bottom of emails and web pages, I’d have to agree.
    And I’d add, they’re not worth the paper they’re NOT written on.

  2. TWSD: Lying and Hiding at Word to the Wise says

    […] more proof that privacy policies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. But that’s not my real issue […]


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