In what is being considered the largest-ever settlement of alleged violations of Michigan’s privacy law (the Michigan Preservation of Personal Privacy Act), the publisher of Reader’s Digest has agreed to pay out $8.2 million to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit brought by consumers who allege that the publisher sold subscribers’ personal information to data brokers and other third parties.
The plaintiffs allege that Trusted Media Brands Inc. violated subscribers’ privacy when it sold detailed personal information, including names, home addresses and other demographic data, such as gender, religion and political affiliation, to data brokers and other third parties without their consent.
The settlement proposes to give each class member approximately $50 for their privacy violation claims.
The named plaintiff alleged that she received an inordinate amount of junk mail and telemarketing calls after the publisher sold her contact information to data miners. She alleges that the selling of the contact information violated the Michigan law that prohibits businesses that sell “books or other written materials” from disclosing the consumer’s identity other than to the consumer themselves.
The settlement includes an incentive award for the named plaintiff, as well as expenses for administration of the settlement, and attorneys’ fees for class counsel.