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Blumenthal Calls for Stronger Consumer Protection After Borders Sells Customer Data to Barnes & Noble

Former Borders customers can still opt out of the data transfer.

In the wake of news that , the nation’s largest book retailer, has purchased the customer information of its former competitor, the now defunct Borders retail chain of booksellers, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal released a statement Monday calling for tighter restrictions to protect consumer privacy.

“Profiting from personal, sometimes sensitive consumer information – illustrated by this regrettable arrangement – is spreading perniciously,” Blumenthal, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This settlement points to a clear and urgent need for stronger and stringent protections for consumer privacy. The settlement reached between Borders and Barnes and Noble is wholly inadequate and unacceptable. Consumers are unprotected unless they explicitly opt out. Instead, their specific consent should be requested. In addition, Barnes and Noble - and other corporations acquiring huge volumes of consumer information – must demonstrate safeguards to prevent breaches of such data.”

Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch announced the news in a mass email to Borders 48-million customers and a posting on Barnes & Noble’s website after a federal bankruptcy court approved the sale Sept. 26.

Both Lynch and Blumenthal noted that former Borders customers could opt out of having their data transferred to Barnes & Nobel. Those who wish to opt out must visit www.bn.com/borders by October 29, 2011 to do so.

For those who elect not to opt out, Lynch said Barnes & Noble’s handling of the information would be governed by the company’s privacy policy.

Borders announced in February that it was closing 200 stores in 35 states throughout the nation as part of bankruptcy proceedings, including its Manchester location, and announced in July of this year that it due to a failure to meet its financial obligations. Prior to its demise, the chain had been the second largest book retailer in the nation, behind only Barnes & Noble. 

M. Troy October 04, 2011 at 05:08 AM
Blumenthal the man who spent our money on frivolous lawsuits is at it again.
Martha Eddy October 04, 2011 at 03:53 PM
I don't even want the companies who feel they have a right to give my information to their associated companies to do that. I opt out of everything that I can.
M. Troy October 04, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Do you shop? Groceries, bed bath,Macys. Do you use the internet. All of your information is compiled daily on these things and just about everywhere you buy or even just ask about something. No I am not paranoid just the facts.
David Moran October 04, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Martha, you do have the option of opting out of the transfer: www.bn.com/borders And if you feel that strongly about it you probably should write the senator or your local elected official and make your feelings known.

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