Data may well be the asset of the 21st century, but selling access to certain data about individuals may raise the risk of attracting unwanted attention from both regulators1 and class action litigants. As organizations collect more types of data about consumers, they are more likely to have data that may constitute “consumer report” data under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).2 Organizations that try to monetize such data by selling access to consumer profiles can easily run afoul of the FCRA.

This article discusses recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement actions against two background check companies that allegedly failed to avoid the FCRA trip wires and face a combined $1.5 million in fines.3 The FTC aggressively enforces the FCRA and violations commonly occur due to a failure to create and implement adequate policies and procedures. This article also explains how the U.S. Supreme Court may review the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision to join other federal appellate courts in making FCRA class action lawsuits easier to bring for plaintiffs. Given the appellate courts’ interpretations of the FCRA, plaintiffs likely will increasingly make FCRA claims in an effort to obtain compensation for alleged general privacy violations. Any organization that sells access to data profiles about individuals is advised to determine whether it must comply with the FCRA and, if necessary, implement policies and procedures that meet the FCRA’s requirements.
Continue Reading FTC Continues Its Aggressive FCRA Enforcement and Ninth Circuit Lowers Standing Threshold in FCRA Cases