A federal appeals court ruled today that consumers have the right to file suit when companies report inaccurate credit information about them. Spokeo, the “people search” website, argued that it couldn’t be sued for publishing false information because there was no “concrete" harm. The case went to the Supreme Court, where EPIC filed an amicus brief urging the Court not to "limit the ability of individuals to seek redress for violations of privacy rights set out by Congress." On closer consideration, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded that companies can’t duck the legal consequences when they violate laws that “protect consumers’ concrete interests”—including their right to privacy. “[G]iven the ubiquity and importance of consumer reports in modern life—in employment decisions, in loan applications, in home purchases, and much more—the real-world implications of material inaccuracies in those reports seem patent on their face,” the Court wrote. “[I]t makes sense that Congress might choose to protect against such harms without requiring any additional showing of injury.” EPIC regularly files amicus briefs defending consumer privacy, and filed several amicus briefs after the Spokeo decision, including in Attias v. Carefirst, Gubala v. Time Warner Cable, and In re SuperValu Customer Data Security Breach Litigation.
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Privacy in the Modern Age