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Charter: We Don't Sell Customer Personal Info. Period

Charter has been hit with a class action suit alleging it sold subs' customer personally identifiable information (CPNI) without permission.

The suit alleges that between 2005 and 2014 the company sold "names, addresses, and other subscriber information such as retail subscription  packages/channels," to third parties "unknown to the subscribers and known to Defendant."

The suit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. It alleges Charter "violated federal law, violated Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights to privacy and publicity, and/or violated contract or quasi-contract principles."

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The suit contends that Charter was not truthfully relaying the price of its service since the service was also coming at the price of the user's valuable personal information.

The suit alleges that Charter's opt-out mechanism didn't limit the sharing of CPNI and that the class that is affected numbers some 6 million.

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While the suit deals with Charter's cable service information cable operator/ISPs are facing scrutiny over their treatment of customer information in general following the Congress' nullification of the FCC's broadband privacy rules and ISP promises that they protect customers' privacy and don't sell their sensitive information, at least as currently defined.

“The suit is meritless," Charter responded in a terse statement. "Charter does not sell its customers’ personally identifiable information in any form.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.