TechCrunch v., Part II: Are Users Getting Cheated?

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Is supplying confidential user information to the RIAA?

Several months ago, TechCrunch accused CBS-owned of doing just that, the beginning of a controversial firestorm. executives vehemently denied the accusations, complete with some harsh words for TechCrunch.  Other executives also panned the article, and dismissed the piece as unfair and simple yellow journalism.

But this story is not over.  In a Friday post titled “Deny This,,” TechCrunch pointed to a complicated data sharing arrangement involving CBS, based on new sources.  The piece alleges that shared the user information internally with its corporate parent, without knowledge of the eventual destination.  “CBS requested user data from, including user name and IP address,” TechCrunch head Michael Arrington asserted.  “CBS wanted the data to comply with am RIAA request but told the data was going to be used for ‘internal use only’.”

That has drawn more denials, but Arrington is questioning the language and nature of the responses.  And despite the murky waters and differing possibilities, Arrington is calling for a broader investigation.  “We believe and CBS violated their own privacy policy in the transmission of this data,” Arrington asserted.  “We also believe CBS and may have violated EU privacy laws, including the Data Protection Directive, and should be investigated by the appropriate authorities.”  Arrington has also offered to pay the legal fees for the defense the CBS employee – allegedly fired – who first leaked the information.