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Texas AG attempts to stop sale of online private information

By Bryan Cohen | Oct 16, 2013

PLANO, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott objected in federal bankruptcy court Wednesday to the sale of the 43 million member database of online dating service

Abbott cited privacy concerns in relation to the sale of the personal information of millions of members.

The database and website are owned by Plano-based True Beginnings, a company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and is currently selling its assets.

"At a time when privacy is an issue of grave concern to so many, we are taking legal action to prevent an online dating service from selling more than two million Texans' personal information without their consent," Abbott said in a statement.

"The proper course is for and its bankruptcy trustee to seek the customers' permission before selling their private information to a third party -- and that's exactly what our legal action asks the bankruptcy court to require before the case proceeds."

True Beginnings sought permission from the court to sell its assets, including the membership database, to a Canadian-based online dating service.

Abbott objected to the sale of the membership data, arguing that the bankruptcy trustee must give the members of an opportunity to object to the sale. True Beginnings said it intended to notify members via email that their information was sold.

The attorney general alleged that customers were told their personal information could not be transferred without their consent, but the company's privacy policy contained ambiguous and deceptive language noting that members' personal information would be treated as a transferrable asset if the company was bought by a third-party buyer.

Abbott's legal filing urges the court to require the trustee to abide by the terms given to customers when they first signed up for

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