Update (Mar. 30): RadioShack has stated that its customer database will not be made available for sale in its bankruptcy proceedings. For more information, check out news service Reuters' coverage.
By now, you’ve probably heard the news: Electronics retailer RadioShack is declaring bankruptcy. That means the 94-year-old company will auction off all its assets to the highest bidder to settle up its bills. Those assets include its trademarks, inventory, leases and – worrying to some – the personal data of its past customers.
According to Hilco Streambank, an intermediary for RadioShack in the bankruptcy process, the company’s list of assets includes 13 million e-mail addresses and 65 million customer names and physical addresses the company has collected over its many years of operation. RadioShack’s creditors would like to see this data auctioned off, but there are real legal questions about whether or not they can. Already, some big names are moving to block the data sale.
Cell carrier AT&T is objecting the sale as well, but for different reasons. The company argues that it has worked extensively with RadioShack to sell and activate phones in its stores, and that it owns the related data. AT&T wants RadioShack’s customer data destroyed, in part because future plans for RadioShack may include a Sprint rebranding.
[Image credit: 1980 Radioshack Catalog via Radioshackcatalogs.com]