Plaintiffs’ lawyers recently have filed several putative class actions against some large companies, seeking millions of dollars in damages for violations of a little-known California consumer protection law. These suits have targeted companies including Microsoft, Conde Nast, and Time, Inc., among others, alleging they have violated California’s “Shine the Light” law (California Civil Code section 1798.83), which imposes specific disclosure requirements on companies that do business with customers in California and share their customers’ personal information with other businesses for direct-marketing purposes. Among other things, the law requires companies to disclose, at the customer’s request, how and with which entities consumer personal information was shared, and to notify consumer about how to exercise their rights under the law. Businesses that fail to comply with the law may be subject to penalties of up $500 per violation, and up to $3,000 if the violation is deemed willful, intentional or reckless.
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