It would be difficult to find many folks who are more paranoid protectors of privacy information than I am. But I have to say the tone of this is really pathetic. (via Overlawyered) Seriously, how many people think these folks feel truly harmed and how many think they are acting in order to try to score a tort payoff?
Consumers are hoping to cash in on last week's state Supreme Court ruling that it's illegal for retailers to ask customers for their ZIP Codes during credit card transactions, except in limited cases.
More than a dozen new lawsuits have been filed against major chains that do business in California, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Crate & Barrel andVictoria's Secret. More filings are expected in the coming weeks.
The flurry of litigation stems from a decision last week againstWilliams-Sonoma Inc. in which the state high court ruled unanimously that ZIP Codes were "personal identification information" that merchants can't demand from customers under a California consumer privacy law.
This rush to court is pathetic on a number of levels
- Zip code is personal, really? Do you believe that?
- Just say no. Seriously. I do it all the time -- I get asked for a phone number or a zip code and I always answer "no, sorry." You know how many retailers have decided they did not want to make a sale to me at that point? Zero.
- It's ex post facto law. Nowhere was it made clear to retailers that the law barred collecting zip codes. Not until a group of judges effectively made this individual practice illegal did it become so, and then it was enforced retroactively on stores. If the legislature wants collecting zip codes to be illegal, it should have written in the law that collecting zip codes is illegal. Or, as a minimum, liability should begin on the day after the court decision. Suing someone for taking a zip code last year when it only became clear this week it was illegal is classic ex post facto law.
- Ira Stoll has a funny comment - guess what the first piece of information Jerry Brown's web site asks for?