* Privacy protection does not apply to online deals -Court
* eBay, Wal-Mart supported Apple
By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 4 Apple Inc and
other online retailers did not break California law by requiring
consumers to provide their address and phone numbers as a
condition of accepting credit card payments, the state's high
court ruled on Monday.
In a split decision, the California Supreme Court said state
privacy protections for credit cards do not apply to online
purchases that are downloaded electronically.
The ruling comes after the same court in 2011 said that
those privacy protections do apply to brick and mortar
retailers, finding that they could not request a customer's ZIP
code during a credit card transaction.
Apple was the defendant in the latest lawsuit, brought as a
proposed class action by a consumer who purchased downloads from
iTunes. Online retailers eBay Inc and Wal-Mart Stores
Inc also filed briefs supporting Apple.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, and an attorney
for the plaintiff could not be reached.
Three dissenting California Supreme Court justices argued
that the ruling represents "a major win for these sellers, but a
major loss for consumers, who in their online activities already
face an ever-increasing encroachment upon their privacy."
But the four justices in the majority disagreed. "These
ominous assertions, though eye-catching, do not withstand
scrutiny," Justice Goodwin Liu wrote.
Other state and federal privacy laws protect against
disclosure of personal identification information, Liu wrote for
the majority. Additionally, electronic retailers need more
safeguards against fraud than traditional shops.
"Unlike a brick-and-mortar retailer, an online retailer
cannot visually inspect the credit card, the signature on the
back of the card, or the customer's photo identification," Liu
The case in the Supreme Court of California is Apple Inc vs.
The Superior Court of Los Angeles County and David Krescent,