Privacy Troubles Continue for Toys 'R' Us

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The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has subpoenaed privacy-related documents from Toysrus.com and will consider whether its data-sharing practices violate New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, according to news reports.


Although neither the Division of Consumer Affairs nor Toys 'R' Us returned calls for comment, reports claim that the state launched an investigation this month into the toy retailer's online privacy practices.


Toys 'R' Us' legal woes began in July when privacy service provider, Interhack Corp., Columbus, OH, revealed the company's relationship with Coremetrics, San Francisco, an online tracking and analysis firm. Interhack claimed the relationship was a violation of Toysrus.com's privacy policy, which stated that it did not share data with third parties.


At least 10 pending class-action lawsuits alleging that customers' privacy was compromised at the company's Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com Web sites have been filed since August.


Despite assertions by Coremetrics that it had no claim to Toys 'R' Us data, other than to analyze it, the toy retailer terminated its use of Coremetrics' services on Aug. 15.


Also in August, Toys 'R' Us partnered with Amazon.com to develop co-branded Web sites. Amazon currently provides site development, order fulfillment and customer service for the sites -- tasks that proved problematic for Toysrus.com during the previous holiday season.


The partnership was announced just weeks before Amazon made widely criticized changes to its own privacy policy to allow for data sharing.

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