News Corp.’s Myspace Sued for Giving Away Data on Members Without Consent

News Corp. (NWSA)’s Myspace unit was accused in a lawsuit of giving data to aggregators that are used to associate members by name with their Internet browsing history without their consent.

Myspace shares the data with aggregators despite telling members they can restrict access to their information, according to the complaint filed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The suit, filed by New York law firms Milberg LLP and Reese Richman LLP, seeks class-action, or group, status and unspecified damages.

“Myspace knowingly serves as and profits handsomely from being a conduit through which details of the most intimate aspects of its members’ lives, as reflected in their Internet browsing history and otherwise, are transmitted to data aggregators, who package the information into profiles and sell it like any other commodity to advertisers,” according to the complaint.

News Corp. is in talks to hand over control of Myspace to Vevo.com, the online music website partly owned by the world’s biggest record companies, including Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, three people with knowledge of the situation said last month.

Myspace’s worldwide traffic shrank 29 percent to 62.6 million visitors in February from 88 million in October 2010, when News Corp. introduced a redesigned website and a new focus on entertainment, according to ComScore Inc., an Internet researcher based in Reston, Virginia.

Julie Henderson, a spokeswoman for New York-based News Corp., declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Virtue v. Myspace Inc., 11-cv-1800, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

To contact the reporter on this story: Thom Weidlich in Brooklyn, New York, federal court at tweidlich@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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