In the wake of news that , the nation’s largest book retailer, has purchased the customer information of its former competitor, the now defunct Borders retail chain of booksellers, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal released a statement Monday calling for tighter restrictions to protect consumer privacy.
“Profiting from personal, sometimes sensitive consumer information–illustrated by this regrettable arrangement–is spreading perniciously,” Blumenthal, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This settlement points to a clear and urgent need for stronger and stringent protections for consumer privacy. The settlement reached between Borders and Barnes and Noble is wholly inadequate and unacceptable. Consumers are unprotected unless they explicitly opt out. Instead, their specific consent should be requested. In addition, Barnes and Noble–and other corporations acquiring huge volumes of consumer information–must demonstrate safeguards to prevent breaches of such data.”
Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch announced the news in a mass email to Borders 48-million customers and a posting on Barnes & Noble’s website after a federal bankruptcy court approved the sale Sept. 26.
Both Lynch and Blumenthal noted that former Borders customers could opt out of having their data transferred to Barnes & Noble. Those who wish to opt out must visit www.bn.com/borders by Oct. 29, 2011 to do so.
Borders announced in February that it was closing 200 stores in 35 states throughout the nation as part of bankruptcy proceedings and announced in July of this year that it due to a failure to meet its financial obligations. Prior to its demise, the chain had been the second largest book retailer in the nation, behind only Barnes & Noble.