Sports Authority Bankruptcy Means Now Dick’s Sporting Goods Owns 114M Customer Records

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

Sports Authority is no more. The sporting goods store folded earlier this year, and for the past few weeks all their assets have been up on the auction block. That included all their intellectual property, which was snapped up this week by competitor Dick’s Sporting Goods. And that now means that if you were a Sports Authority customer, Dick’s just bought your information.

Dick’s, which has been picking and choosing through the assets of its ruined competitor, is confirmed to have snapped up all the IP just yesterday for a cool $15 million. And as the Christian Science Monitor reports, that data includes a total of 114 million customer files, including 25 million e-mail addresses.

We saw this happen last year when RadioShack folded. Personal data was on the auction block when the venerable electronics shop finally went bankrupt. In that sale, customers’ phone numbers were ultimately not resold, but the 117 million one-time consumers whose data was on file only had a short time to opt out of having their e-mail or mailing addresses sold to the new owners.

In that instance, though, earlier existing privacy agreements, and a settlement with AT&T and Verizon, ended up sparing some customer data from being handed over. In the end, the majority of consumer data was not transferred to the new owner.

However, Sports Authority’s privacy policy was a little more forward-looking than RadioShack’s, from an industry perspective. Their policy stated that any data they had could be sold along with other company assets, and so it has been. And there’s not much any customers can really do about it.

And this is the norm: an investigation last year found that 85% of the top 100 sites in the country had privacy policies with language explicitly saying that your personal data would be sold to a new owner if the company changed hands in any way, and only a tiny handful included any provision for notifying customers. Even fewer included any mechanism of opting out.

Sports Authority is going to auction off customer emails. Can it do that? [Christian Science Monitor]

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