Chris Hoofnagle writes:
A fair amount of misinformation has been generated surrounding the California Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Pineda v. Williams Sonoma, 51 Cal.4th 524, 2011 WL 446921. In Pineda, the Court held that a zip code could qualify as personal information under the State’s Song-Beverly Act. This means that companies that collect the zip code at the register when accepting plastic may be violating Song-Beverly.
Of course, a flood of suits have been filed concerning the practice of collecting zip codes. I don’t think those cases are interesting. What’s interesting is how critics have reacted to Pineda itself. They have created specious narratives about the case, Song-Beverly, and the practice of collecting zip codes. Pineda questions the closely held values of the data industry, and the reaction to the case shows just how threatening data companies find privacy law.
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