IMDb.com Faces Trial For Revealing Actress's Real Age

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Amazon's IMDb.com will have to defend itself at trial for allegedly breaching its privacy policy by publishing actress Junie Hoang's true age, a judge ruled this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle denied IMDb.com's request to dismiss the lawsuit before trial, ruling that the case presented the types of questions that needed to be resolved through a trial. "Genuine issues of material fact exist about whether IMDb breached its subscriber agreement and privacy notice, so summary judgment is inappropriate," Pechman wrote.

Hoang alleged that the movie site IMDb.com used information from her credit card to discover her true date of birth, and then appended it to her public listing on the site. The 41-year-old actress said she created a professional profile in Amazon's IMDb.com in 2003. At the time, she used a stage name and gave her year of birth as 1978, which would have made her 25. In fact, she was born in 1971.

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Starting in 2007, Hoang began asking IMDb.com to remove the 1978 year from her profile. As part of that effort, she sent the site several documents, including a copy of a fake ID, according to the court papers.

After Hoang began lobbying to delete a birthdate from her listing, IMDb.com decided to investigate her real age, according to court documents. As part of that process, IMDb.com looked up the credit card information -- including her legal name -- tied to her professional account, and then scoured public records for her age.

Hoang argues that doing so violated subscriber agreement -- which promised to keep people's data confidential.

While IMDb.com acknowledges in its court papers that it checked public records to determine Hoang's true age, the company says it only did so because she demanded that the site revise her profile. "To cut through her dishonesty once and for all, IMDb followed Hoang’s direction and used her true name from its records to search for her birth date in a public records database," the company said in its court papers.

IMDb.com attempted to argue that it was entitled to summary judgment because Hoang had "unclean hands" in that she lied about her age. But Pechman rejected that argument, ruling that IMDb had "promised to safeguard subscriber information" for everyone who subscribed to the service.

The case is slated to go to trial on April 8.

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