The death of privacy

Friday, 8 September 2006, 12:48 AM EST

In privacy circles, a mostly forgotten incident from the end of the dot-com euphoria aptly illustrates the lack of regard most companies have toward protecting personal data, even if they make a point of promising to do so.

The episode occurred in mid-2000, when Toysmart.com, a Web-based retailer, went out of business. Among the assets the company put on the block during bankruptcy proceedings was one that caught the eye of regulators at the Federal Trade Commission: the names, e-mail and mailing addresses, and shopping histories of 250,000 Toysmart customers. Toysmart was offering these records to the highest bidder, despite an online privacy policy that explicitly stated the company would never share customer data with any third party.

At CIO Insight.

[ Read more ]




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