Class Action

Playboy Sued for Renting Out Subscribers’ Personal Information

Jan. 31, 2019, 8:33 PM

Playboy Enterprises Inc. violated Michigan privacy law by renting out personal information about its subscribers to data aggregators without their notice or consent, a new complaint alleges.

The complaint alleges Playboy rents subscribers’ personal information—including full names, titles of the magazines they subscribe to, and home addresses—to data aggregators and cooperatives.

These companies supplement Playboy’s mailing lists with additional sensitive personal information from their own databases, the lawsuit alleges. Playboy then rents the enhanced mailing lists to companies like advertisers, political organizations, and non-profits to identify and target Playboy subscribers by personal details like income, religion, and political affiliation, it alleges.

Playboy never informed or obtained consent from its subscribers before disclosing the information, the complaint says.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by a proposed class of Michigan residents who are Playboy subscribers. They allege the company violated the state’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act, which prohibits sellers of publications from disclosing information that identifies buyers.

The class also sued Playboy for unjust enrichment, arguing Playboy should pay back the money it made from the rental, exchange, or disclosure of the class’s personal information.

Playboy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bursor & Fisher P.A., Hedin Hall LLP, and Barbat, Mansour & Suciu PLLC represent the class.

The case is Kokoszki v. Playboy Enters., E.D. Mich., No. 2:19-cv-10302, complaint filed 1/30/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at bbrittain@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com

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