The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that ZIP codes qualify as personal identification information (PII) in that state. In the case, a retailer had asked a customer for her ZIP code when processing her credit card for a purchase. The court found that this was a violation of her privacy rights under a state law. California judges have also ruled that ZIP codes are PII.
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Over the past several years, there has been a wave of lawsuits brought under California’s Song-Beverly Act alleging that the collection of postal Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) codes by businesses in connection with credit card transactions violates the Act. The catalyst for this wave is Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc.,1 California’s Song-Beverly Act, “prohibits businesses from requesting that cardholders provide ‘personal identification information’ during credit card transactions, and then recording that information.” Under the Song-Beverly Act, a consumer’s address is considered personal identification information (PII).