RadioShack Consumer Data Might Be Back Up For Auction

Image courtesy of (Phillip Pessar)

When the venerable electronics retailer RadioShack declared bankruptcy earlier this year and prepared to sell off its assets and its business, they quietly announced one item that was legally problematic but potentially lucrative: tens of millions of pieces of customer contact information that it has collected over the years. After the Attorney General of Texas objected to such a sale, the court was told that selling that information was off the table. Now it could be back on.

The customer mailing lists are part of a planned auction in May of RadioShack’s intellectual property. You can see those assets listed on the website of liquidator Hilco Streambank: their intellectual property, in this case, includes things like the RadioShack brand name, the e-commerce platform and a few hundred associated domain names, the chain’s proprietary brands, their product-sourcing relationships in Asia, their network of around 1,000 dealers and franchisees, and their patents and patent applications. Oh, yeah, and then there’s “Over 13MM E-Mail Addresses” and “Over 65MM Customer Name and Physical Address Files.”

There’s an independent consumer privacy ombudsman appointed for this auction, and her job is to evaluate the implications of a possible sale of that customer data. The attorney general of Texas, current home state of RadioShack, is way ahead of her on that, though: his office called the world’s attention to the possible sale of customer data, and has now brought it back to the court’s attention even though the company hasn’t yet announced that the data is for sale. It could be for sale, raising privacy issues for consumers and possible legal issues based on the Shack’s privacy policy at the time the data was collected.

RadioShack still plans to sell customer personal data despite state objections [PCWorld]

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