Interactive Counsel

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Interactive Counsel

Spokeo and Concrete Harm: What It Means for E-Commerce, Privacy, and Security


Spokeo and Concrete Harm: What It Means for E-Commerce, Privacy, and Security

*This article was originally published in E-Commerce Law Reports

The Supreme Court case involving Spokeo and Thomas Robins, a consumer whose information was included in the search engine's reports, highlights the limitations to a consumer's ability to enforce their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

In May, the Court sent the potential class action case back to the Ninth Circuit for reconsideration, marking an intermediary win for Spokeo, which uses a “people search engine” to find, compile, and sell publicly available personal information. The company came under fire for publishing inaccurate personal information about plaintiff Thomas Robins in a case that continues to shape US privacy and consumer protection law.

The ruling has already been cited in several recent privacy breach cases, affecting the plantiff's standing when their data is threatened. Only time will tell where this issue lands as we wait for the Ninth Circuit's next opinion and other pending cases, but in the meantime, the Spokeo decision will be relied upon by defendants in key data breach incidents.

To read Arent Fox's full insights on the case, click here.


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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.