The remnants of RadioShack’s retail empire went on the auction block on Monday, giving bidders the first chance to snap up the company’s trademarks, patents, leases—and the names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of millions of RadioShack customers.
For RadioShack itself, the stakes are enormous. Bloomberg News reported Tuesday morning that Standard General, a hedge fund that is one of RadioShack's creditors, has won the auction. Hanging in the balance on Thursday, when a federal bankruptcy court is expected to approve or reject the asset sale, is the continuation of the 94-year-old retailer's operations. Standard General has said it will try to keep the retail chain operating on a smaller scale.
RadioShack's customers—even those whose most recent purchase came years ago—could also find themselves sold off in the deal. The company included personal data in its bankruptcy auction as its own asset class. A website maintained by Hilco Streambank, which is serving as an intermediary for RadioShack, says that more than 13 million e-mail addresses and 65 million customer names and physical address files are for sale. Hilco Streambank is careful to note that the bankruptcy court might not approve the deals, and there have already been two legal filings in attempts to block the sale of customer data.
The broader challenge, filed last week by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, argues that RadioShack made an explicit promise to its customers not to sell their personal data. Paxton claims that 117 million people are included in RadioShack's customer data sale, which he says offers some details about shopping habits. The filing cites text from a sign displayed in RadioShack stores reading: “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.” State law in Texas prohibits companies from selling personally identifiable information in a way that violates their own privacy policies. On Monday, Tennessee's attorney general joined Texas's objection.
AT&T is also trying to stop RadioShack from sharing some of its consumer data for a different reason: The wireless carrier believes the information isn’t RadioShack’s to sell. AT&T worked with RadioShack to market phones, allowing RadioShack to build up a trove of information that includes, among other things, lists of AT&T customers. AT&T says it owns this data and wants RadioShack's records destroyed. Given that one bidder in the bankruptcy proceedings plans to co-brand some RadioShack locations as Sprint stores, AT&T is clearly concerned that the auction could give sensitive information to a competitor.
The court has appointed a “privacy ombudsman” to handle issues related to sensitive data, and that official hasn’t yet ruled publicly on either challenge.
A long list of RadioShack customers’ names and shopping habits has some market value, though it's unclear how much. In his legal challenge, Paxton asked that each bidder be required to break out its offer for the data so that the court could recalculate bids if it were to block the deal. It was not immediately clear how bids for consumer data might be valued.
While the focus on consumer data has become intense in recent years, the first legal challenge to the sale of such information during bankruptcy came 15 years ago. Toysmart.com, an online toy store, proposed selling information about its customers as part of a bankruptcy auction in 2000. The data proved to be the company’s single most valuable asset in bankruptcy.
"Where Do We Go From Here?"
Posted Oct. 23, 2011, 9:32 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt On the one month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, Ed David went to Liberty Plaza to find out where the movement will go next.
Director ED DAVID
Producer DANA SALVATORE
Cinematography ED DAVID & ANDREW MCMULLEN
Editors LILY HENDERSON & ED DAVID
Assistant Producer JILLIAN MASON
Typically, acquiring banks and processors have processes in place to ensure that rule changes are identified and the appropriate changes made, they note in an unpublished article. Confusion over whether the new rules were indeed rules or just ‘best practices’ has caught many in the industry off-guard. As a result, many processors may already be unknowingly in breach of the new rules.
One rule is that payment processors must now create a fee disclosure schedule to include with merchant applications and agreements. That includes fees such as the merchant discount rate, pass-through rates, interchange plus mark-up rates, bundled pricing plans, and fees for tiered, qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified rates, along with authorization and settlement fees.
While many processors might believe their current applications are in compliance with this rule, they likely are not, the attorneys note. The problem is that the fee disclosure must clearly and conspicuously detail the methodology …
Proposed Contaminated Fill Site
Thank you for taking interest in the future of our community, it’s watershed, Shawnigan Creek, Shawnigan Lake and our childrens future.
South Island Aggregates (S.I.A.) is presently operating two mine sites (Lots 23 & 21 in Goldstream Heights)
The mine site is at 460 Stebbings Road with access via a gated bridge over Shawnigan Creek. They are located within the “Shawnigan Lake Watershed Protection Area” right along the west bank of Shawnigan Creek.
S.I.A. has applied for a license through the Ministry of Environment (MOE) to import and bury contaminatedwaste on this mine site.
This contaminated material will be trucked in from all over the island with most other municipalities using this facility to dispose of their unwanted contaminated material.
S.I.A. estimates a life span of 50 years and 100,000 tons per year of contaminated waste trucked to and dumped into our watershed. That’s “FIVE MILLION TONS” of contaminated waste dumped in our waters…