Suit Against Toys 'R' Us Alleges Privacy Violation

Toys R Us Inc. and its subsidiary Inc. stand accused of committing similar privacy violations that last month got one of its rivals into trouble with U.S. federal regulators.

A lawsuit filed on Wednesday by a California resident makes a number of claims against the toy retailer, including breach of contract, invasion of privacy and violation of federal electronic transmission laws. It accuses the company of disclosing names, addresses and other personal data about people who made purchases at the Toys R Us Web site from August 5, 1998 to the present.

The suit, filed by Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran, a Washington law firm, alleges that the toy retailer breached the privacy policy posted at its Web site when the information was disclosed to CoreMetrics Inc., a third-party marketing company.

"Our client believes that her personally identifiable information has been shared with a third party in violation of Toys R Us policy and seeks to represent a class of persons," said Shannon Keniry, a lawyer with Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran.

The suit was filed in federal court in Camden, New Jersey.

Toys R Us is reviewing the lawsuit, the company said in a statement. does not sell, rent or trade visitor information to other parties, nor does it disclose customer information outside of its business, the statement said.

Toys R Us recently entered into a short-term trial agreement with CoreMetrics to review its ability to help the company manage and sort data. The contract prohibits CoreMetrics from using or disclosing the data to anyone else, the statement added.

In July, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action against Inc. when the bankrupt company tried to sell its consumer data to another company. The FTC later reached a settlement with, but said it would file a complaint against the company for allegedly violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. [See "UPDATE - FTC Settles with Toysmart," July 21.] Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran, in Washington, can be reached at +1-202-337-800 or found on the Web at Toys R Us, in Paramus, New Jersey, can be reached at +1-201-262-7800 or found on the Web at

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