Pop Quiz: Can The Pizza Delivery Place Sell Your Personal Information Without Your Consent?

You need the express written consent of Major League Baseball to do pretty much anything to a baseball game, but does your pizza place need your permission to sell your personal information (name, address and phone number) to the highest bidder? Take a guess. The answer is inside. Cheating is easy, but in poor taste. (For the purposes of this quiz, you live in California.)

The answer of course, is “false.” If you managed to guess correctly, you’re smarter than the average Californian. Two researchers at Berkeley conducted a scientific poll in an effort to determine how much Californians knew about their state’s privacy laws. It turns out that large amounts of consumers have no idea that it’s perfectly legal for lots of different kinds of companies to sell their information without their consent, including pizza delivery places.

From the research paper:

Pizza delivery companies, since they are called so frequently by consumers, are a hub for collecting personal information. A delivery company can collect and aggregate caller identification information (typically name and phone number), ask the customer for their phone number (which may be different than what is displayed by caller identification), and in order to process the order, acquire the delivery address. Pizza delivery information is used by private investigators and by governments to track individuals. In the marketing context, pizza delivery databases have been discussed as source for phone numbers for wireless 411 databases.

When we asked Californians whether they thought pizza delivery companies could not sell personal information without their consent, 54.7% incorrectly answered true and 5.8% said they didn?t know.

Other scenarios in which consumers assumed they were protected from sale of their personal information: donating to a charity, registering a product warranty, giving a phone number to a cashier at checkout, registering a product rebate, and ordering from a catalog.

Research Report: What Californians Understand About Privacy Offline
[via CL&P Blog]
(Photo: Tyler Durden’s Imaginary Friend )