ZIP Code Case Underscores The Perils Of Collecting “Personal Identification Information” In California

In February 1991, I wrote a brief article for the South Orange County Chamber of Commerce with the catchy title of “New Statutes Affect Business, Protect Consumer’s Privacy”. In the article, I discussed two new laws. One of those laws added § 1747.8 to the California Civil Code to prohibit businesses from requiring “personal identification information” in credit card transactions.

Although the statute has been amended and renumbered as Civil Code § 1747.08, the basic prohibition remains. In the ensuing years, the scope of what constitutes “personal identification information” has been unsettled. Now, two decades later, the California Supreme Court has ruled on the issue.

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