When you provide information about yourself to a store with the promise they will keep that data private, can they just ignore that agreement and sell it anyhow? That's at the heart of a fight in the bankruptcy of RadioShack, which is attempting to sell what information they have on more than 100 million customers.
That includes names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and potentially even what was purchased and when. Texas' attorney general filed an objection to the planned sale, asserting that auctioning off information about an estimated 117 million customers would violate agreements the chain made with them like these:
We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.
RadioShack values its customers and their privacy...When a customer's name and address is requested, RadioShack's desire is to build a better customer relationship and to inform the customer of upcoming sales and special offers. Customer information must be treated with discretion and respect. In fact, RadioShack prides itself on not selling our private mailing list to others.
Texas -- RadioShack's headquarters are in Fort Worth -- argues that breaking those agreements would constitute a violation of the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Tennessee has since joined with Texas in the opposition to the sale of the information.
In addition, AT&T is reportedly objecting to the sale of data collected on its behalf when RadioShack stores signed up customers for mobile phone service.
A listing of assets that are for sale as part of RadioShack's bankruptcy includes 65 million-plus customer names and physical addresses, and 13 million-plus email addresses.
RadioShack, in business for more than 90 years, filed for bankruptcy protection in February. The company's assets are for sale, and a hearing on the sale is scheduled for Thursday.
It is not clear how much the customer information could be worth. But Texas' filing noted that any company interested in buying RadioShack should separately value that data and subtract it from their purchase price.