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FTC warns consumers over Borders data handover to Barnes & Noble

07 Oct 2011
Barnes & Noble store in New York (Photo - Beyond My Ken)

Bankruptcies and takeovers are becoming increasingly common as many of the world's economies struggle to emerge from recession, raising privacy concerns about customer databases when a company is bought out.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an advisory this week to customers of Borders bookstore, which went into bankruptcy earlier this year and sold some of its operation to rival Barnes & Noble.

It seems part of that sale included the Borders customer database which contained names, contact information and purchase history.

If you are a Borders customer and do not want your details sold off to another company, the FTC suggests you contact Barnes & Noble to opt out of the customer data transfer. Those who opt out before 29 October will not have their information handed over.

Barnes & Noble has sent emails notifying customers of the opt-out process, but if you've deleted or lost the email you can optout of the data transfer here.

The opt-out operation raises an interesting issue. With so many companies collecting data, people will have to keep track of not only who they hand their data over to, but where the people who collect that data may eventually end up placing it.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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