Sears website privacy class action

by Walter Olson on January 13, 2008

The retailer quickly modified its managemyhome.com web site after it was pointed out that unauthorized users might get it to cough up records of homeowners’ past purchases. The law firm of KamberEdelson LLC quickly hopped on the case with a class action demanding millions, saying bad guys might use the information on past lawn mower purchases and the like to trick homeowners into divulging more serious financial data, though its complaint cited no instances where anything of the sort had actually happened. (“Sears Accused Of Violating Consumer Fraud Law”, Reuters/New York Times, Jan. 7; BenEdelman.org). Chicago lawyer/blogger David Fish isn’t impressed with the turn to legal action, asking, “Are you legally damaged because your nosy neighbor found out how much your washing machine cost?” (Jan. 10).

{ 3 comments }

1 James 01.13.08 at 6:16 am

In an unrelated case, a district court judge recently ruled that merely “making available” information in a way that is publicly accessible, but should not be, is illegal.

Wouldn’t similar logic apply here?

2 Ben Edelman 01.13.08 at 8:32 am

I can’t agree that Sears “quickly” responded to this problem. Unambiguous emails indicate that Sears staff had known about this problem for 3+ weeks and had not taken action.

3 bob neal 01.13.08 at 9:11 am

Ben, that’s not the point. The point is there has been no harm to redress. And James, the RIAA case is significantly different. If Sears had advertised “get your customer information here” the RIAA case might be applicable.

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