|Subscribers accessing the TCPA case database module on our new Litigation Firewall system have doubtless noticed that plaintiff and attorney phone numbers identified by our research team are no longer displayed in case reports. This is not a bug. It is a regrettable but necessary response to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and similar consumer privacy laws enacted by other states.
As detailed in prior articles, the CCPA applies to any company that derives 50% or more of its annual revenues from the sale of “personal information,” which is basically any information about a particular individual that is not in any public record.
The CCPA broadly defines the term “sell” to include any arrangement involving an exchange of value between a company and its customers for access to personal information. Due to this broad definition (and the fact that we operate a subscription-based model in which all services are bundled together), we arguably derive more than half our annual revenue from the “sale” of personal information if we include consumer phone numbers in case reports.
Hence, we were forced to remove those numbers from view (you can still search for cases by phone number, and any reports that include the number will appear in search results). We do not disclose or share any other type of consumer personal information in case reports- plaintiff and attorney names are part of the public record, so those can still be displayed. The Litigation Firewall itself only removes or blocks numbers that match those in our databases but does not disclose or otherwise share them.
You may be asking yourself, why is this important? The answer is simple: if a company is covered by the CCPA, the law gives consumers certain rights, including the following:
- They can require the company to disclose what kind of personal information it collects about them and how it is used and shared.
- They can demand that the company not sell any of their personal information; and
- They can instruct the company to delete all their personal information.
If we fall under CCPA coverage, every lowlife in California (and in other states with similar laws) looking to profit from your calls and texts would have the right to instruct us to remove their numbers from our database, and we would have no choice but to comply with those instructions. Such an outcome, which would leave our customers and friends open to such predation, is utterly intolerable.
We feel that removing phone numbers from the case reports is a small price to pay to keep that from happening, and we hope that you agree.