Shaun Zinck May 29, 2015, 1:26pm


A major magazine publisher is facing a class action lawsuit for allegedly selling its subscribers' information to third party data miners without permission.

Suzanne Boelter filed the lawsuit on May 21 in U.S. District Court in New York against Hearst Communications, which publishes magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and O, the Oprah Magazine.

The lawsuit claims Hearst sells subscribers' personal information in order to supplement sales and advertising revenues. The information sold includes full names, home addresses, titles of magazines they are subscribed to, gender, age, political affiliation, and more.

Boelter said Hearst charges about $192 per thousand subscribers, and can break down the list to very specific demographics.

“For example, anyone could buy from Hearst a customer list with the names and addresses of all Good Housekeeping subscribers over age 50, who are devoted Bible-reading Democrats, with three teenage children and pet cats,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit claims selling this information is a violation of subscribers' privacy because it doesn't ask its readers for permission.

The lawsuit seeks class status against Hearst, and is also seeking more than $5 million in damages plus court costs.

Boelter is represented by Scott A. Bursor, Joseph I. Marchese and Philip L. Fraietta of Bursor & Fisher, P.A. in New York City.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York case number 1:15-cv-03934.

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