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RadioShack to enter mediation, will sell customer data

Staff writer |
RadioShack won court approval to start the process of selling its intellectual property, including a bid to sell customer data. RadioShack agreed to mediate with the states to resolve privacy concerns.

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The proposed sale of customer information drew objections from 37 state attorneys general, who asked how a potential buyer might use the data and exactly what information is being sold. RadioShack agreed to mediate with the states to resolve their concerns.

Mediation will begin May 14 before retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Leif M. Clark of Texas. That's after a scheduled May 11 auction for intellectual property assets including the names and addresses of millions of RadioShack customers.

"Congress has made it clear that we must take the sale of personally identifiable information seriously, and I do," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon said at a hearing in Wilmington, Del.

"It is my hope that a lot of these issues can be addressed by the mediation."

The electronics-chain is offering about 117 million customer records, with more than 66 million containing information related to shoppers' physical addresses and 8 million associated with e-mails.

Other than the digital and physical addresses, "the large majority of that data, nobody is going to be interested in," because it isn't useful for marketing, said Gregory M. Gordon, a RadioShack attorney.

The judge rejected a request from the Texas attorney general's office to break out which portion of a potential buyer's offer was specifically for the customer data, since it's being sold together with the trademarks and other intellectual property.

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