FullContact, a startup that collects profile and contact information from social sites for use by clients, has filed suit against Pipl, a search engine that provides data in response to queries on individuals, alleging that Pipl used its data after their contract expired and failed to delete it.
The case, on file with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, might be viewed as a simple contract dispute. But it could raise questions about data collection, use of data by third parties and the imperative to delete data in the age of GDPR.
FullContact charges that Pipl is continuing to use its Completed Contact Data without permission, and that it failed to submit a compliance audit requested in April, both in violation of the contract.
It also alleges theft of trade secrets under federal and Colorado law.
Pipl denies the charges in an answer filed with the court.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix has set a scheduling and planning conference for October 1.
According to the complaint, Pipl became a channel reseller under a two-year agreement with FullContact in 2016.
FullContact allows partners to use an API to integrate its Completed Contact Data with their own services, and to download the data for inclusion in their databases.
However, FullContact says it terminated the reseller agreement in late 2018, after which Pipl was allowed to place orders and to download data for a three-month period, ending in February of this year.
Pipl failed to “irrevocably delete” the data upon expiration of the order, and to execute a data deletion acknowledgment, as required by the agreement, the complaint continues.
Pipl denies that the reseller agreement was “terminated,” and says its access to FullContact services was part of an extension of the terms of that agreement. In addition, it denies that it was contractually required to complete a data deletion acknowledgement form.
Pipl also denies FullContact’s claims that its “database contains information that is entirely unique to it and not available in other databases or publicly available.”
For its part, FullContact alleges “fraud, malice, and a willful and wanton disregard of FullContact’s rights.”
FullContact is asking the court for an injunction against PIPl, along with monetary damages and costs.
Pipl, in its answer, requests that the case be dismissed, and that it be awarded costs.
FullContact enriches customer profiles with such variables as age, gender, location and affinity data, which it gleans from over 120 social sites, MediaPost reported in 2018.
The firm uses email addresses as identifiers to match consumer’s with their online profiles.
FullContact is based in Denver, and Pipl is located in Post Falls, Idaho.