Privacy Alert Pineda v. Willams-Sonoma Stores, Inc. - California Supreme Court Interprets Personal Identification Information to include ZIP Code


In Pineda v. Willliams-Sonoma Stores, Inc., S178241 (Cal. Supreme Court, February 10, 2011) (Pineda), the California Supreme Court held that the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971 (the “Credit Card Act”) prohibits businesses from requesting and recording a cardholder’s ZIP code as a condition to accepting the credit card as a form of payment, and that a ZIP code constitutes “personal identification information” (“PII”) under the Credit Card Act. The case has drawn significant attention because of the broad language of the court’s opinion and its impact on retailers who do business in California.

If you do business as a “brick and mortar” retailer in California, Pineda undoubtedly necessitates a re-assessment of your data collection and use practices. If you operate a website or online service and collect PII from California consumers should you be similarly concerned about the impact of Pineda on your data collection and use practices or on your privacy policy?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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