Mansueto Ventures, LLC, publisher of Fast Company magazine, faces a proposed class action over its alleged practice of renting, exchanging or otherwise disclosing subscriber information to third parties.
A Fast Company magazine subscriber claims in the 26-page case that he has “received a barrage of unwanted junk mail” as a result of Mansueto’s disclosure of his information to data aggregators, appenders and cooperatives, and list brokers, who in turn shared the data with “aggressive advertisers, political organizations, and non-profit companies.”
The lawsuit alleges Mansueto has violated the Michigan Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (MPPPA) by sharing subscriber information without their knowledge or consent. Per the suit, the MPPPA is a state law that prohibits companies who sell, rent or lend books or other written materials from disclosing purchase records that identify their customers.
The case claims that Mansueto, in order to bolster its revenues, rents, exchanges or otherwise discloses subscriber information, including customers’ names and addresses and the titles of publications they subscribe to, to data aggregators and appenders. These parties then supplement the information with “myriad other categories” of data such as readers’ age, gender, income, political party, ethnicity, marital status and child’s age, the suit says. By renting, rather than selling, subscriber mailing lists, the defendant can share the data “time and time again to countless third parties,” the lawsuit adds.
Per the case, Mansueto discloses subscribers’ information “at the expense of its customers’ statutory privacy rights” by failing to obtain their written consent prior to sharing the data.
The lawsuit alleges Mansueto’s disclosure of its subscriber information is “not only unlawful, but also dangerous” because it allows third parties to target vulnerable members of society.
“For example,” the complaint reads, “anyone could buy a customer list provided by Mansueto that contains the names and addresses of all unmarried Hispanic women in Michigan over the age of 40 who vote Republican, have children under the age of 18, earn an annual income of greater than $80,000, and subscribe to Fast Company magazine. Such a list is available for sale on the open market for approximately $226.00 per thousand subscribers listed.”
The case looks to represent Michigan residents who, at any time within the six-year statute of limitations period and prior to July 30, 2016, had their private reading information disclosed to third parties by Mansueto without their consent.
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