Guy Comcast Got Fired Now Suing Comcast For Violating Federal Privacy Law
from the karma's-a-bitch dept
In the most recent example we covered of Comcast’s ongoing efforts to convince everyone not to be Comcast customers, we noted that the fact they helped get a customer fired from his accounting job was the kind of thing he could probably sue over. That said, even I didn’t anticipate the guy accusing Comcast of violating federal law.
The plaintiff, Conal O’Rourke, claims that after a series of calls with Comcast’s customer service department, Comcast complained to his employer about him and he was fired from his job. The lawsuit filed yesterday is based on the same alleged series of events. Mr. O’Rourke claims that he did not authorize Comcast to disclose his information to anyone else, but Comcast nevertheless disclosed personally identifying information about Mr. O’Rourke, including his name, to PricewaterhouseCoopers, where Mr. O’Rourke worked. The following can be attributed to Laura Moy, staff attorney at Public Knowledge:
“If the facts in this complaint are true, they are extremely troubling. They would show that the nation’s largest cable provider exercised a complete disregard for federal privacy law.”
Now, it should be noted that O’Rourke is accusing Comcast of having divulged identifying information to his employer, such as the fact that he was employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, not his personal viewing or web-browsing habits with his employer, but that doesn’t really matter. The fact is that ISPs and cable companies are privy to all kinds of personal information pertaining to their customers, and the confidentiality of such personal information is governed by the Communications Act. The sharing of even seemingly harmless identifying personal information represents a pretty massive screw up on Comcast’s part. A cable company willing to bend or break the law and reveal innocuous information perhaps shouldn’t be trusted to act better with more personal information. The fact that all of this is made more problematic because of a complete lack of competitive choices for consumers wasn’t lost on the lawyers either.
“For many Americans, there are few broadband and pay TV choices in their areas. As regulators consider the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, we hope they will follow this case closely. The facts alleged in this complaint, if they are true, along with the admitted customer services failing that led to this dispute, suggest that Comcast habitually puts its interests above all else even to the point of disregarding the law.”
Remember, Comcast cares. The insane part of all this is that Conal O’Rourke has been screaming at the top of his lungs for Comcast and/or his former employer to release both the emails that got him fired and the recordings of all his phone conversations with Comcast, so that he can clear his name and get a new job at another accounting firm. To date, his employer and Comcast, the company that cares, have declined to do so.