The commoditisation of consumers has been perfectly illustrated by disturbing news concerning the bankruptcy of RadioShack in the US.
Bloomberg reports that up for auction are a number of the company’s assets – one of which is the names, emails, phone numbers, addresses and shopping habits of some 117m former customers of the chain, which ran into trouble last year.
There have already been two legal filings to try and stop the data sale, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton arguing that the company made an explicit promise not to sell personal data at the time it was gathered. Website operator Hilco Streambank still hopes the deal will be approved.
There’s a second string to the disagreement, too, with AT&T believing that it has a stake in the data thanks to an agreement it had with RadioShack to market phones, resulting in the gathering of AT&T customer details – which it claims to own. It does not help that rival network Sprint is currently in the running to acquire some of RadioShack’s assets.
RadioShack may yet continue as a chain, in a limited fashion, should the sale of its retail business to Standard General be approved by the federal bankruptcy court.