Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today secured privacy protections for members of national dating service True.com. The website and its database are owned and operated by Plano-based True Beginnings, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and is now moving forward to reorganize under a plan to be approved by a federal bankruptcy judge.
Today’s settlement includes key privacy protections that require True Beginnings to take several actions, including:
- Implement a comprehensive information security program to protect the confidentiality of its members’ information;
- Obtain members’ consent to transfer the members’ private information to a third-party buyer; and
- Comply with the Texas Internet Dating Safety Act and give members accurate information on whether it conducts criminal background checks of applicants.
In October, Attorney General Abbott prevailed in his court-filed objection to True.com’s proposed sale of its 43 million-member database to a Canadian dating service as part of the bankruptcy process. More than two million of True.com’s members are Texans. Days after Abbott’s office filed the objection, the Canadian firm withdrew its offer to purchase the database, and today’s agreement ensures that True.com will not release those members’ private information to third parties without their informed consent.
Regarding criminal background checks, True Beginnings must adhere to requirements found in the Internet Dating Safety Act of Texas and either conduct comprehensive criminal background checks as defined by Texas law or provide a clear statement at its website that it does not conduct such background checks. In addition, True Beginnings must provide official statements to the attorney general – attested to by an executive officer – explaining the actions the company has taken to assure full compliance with this settlement.