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NYTimes Adds to Personal Information It can “Exchange or Rent”

This past week, The New York Times modified its Privacy Policy for at least the second time this calendar year. As with the Google+ policy changes that were also recently rolled out, the ambiguous language provides The New York Times with flexibility–and thus discretion–in how it can apply its state policies.

The previous version of the policy allowed The New York Times to “exchange or rent” its print subscriber’s names and mailing addresses with other “reputable companies that offer marketing information or products through direct mail.” The policy included a link to another part of the policy that listed the opting-out process for each use of personal information.

However, the new policy could significantly expand the types of information The New York Times can exchange or rent, by including its right to do so with “certain other information, such as when you first subscribed to The New York Times.” Unfortunately, the new language’s example is neither restrictive or particularly illustrative, and as such is so ambiguous as to prevent users from being sure what kinds of information The New York Times is claiming a right to use.

The policy also now, helpfully, includes the procedure for opting-out of the “exchange or rent” clause within the same paragraph. However, there is no automated service to do so, and users must write an email or letter:

If you prefer that we do not share this information, you may opt-out by e-mailing us at, or write to us at Customer Care, P.O. Box 217, Northvale, NJ 07647-0217.  If you are a current print subscriber, please remember to include your account number and phone number in the body of your e-mail or letter, and if you choose to opt-out via e-mail, please include “Opt-out” in the subject line.

PrivateCitizens advocates for clear language in privacy policies, and we feel it would not be onerous for The New York Times to list the personal information that it plans to–or has already started–exchanging or renting. This is especially true as the information is limited to what the company knows about its print subscribers, and not to the multitude of data points collected for its online subscribers.

Here is the link to the comparison between the cached and live policies, and below are the static images of substantive changes.

2 Responses to “NYTimes Adds to Personal Information It can “Exchange or Rent””

  1. Emily S Says:

    Scarry. You’re doing a great job guys.

  2. join Scentsy Says:

    Everyone is trying to make a buck these days. I guess I wont sign up for NYTimes 😛