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Unrepentant online auction site eBay has confirmed that it will give personal data to government officials without a subpoena. They only have to ask. eBay users have received the following explanation:

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I understand your concern with this issue. My name is Christian. I am a representative of eBay Customer Service. I will be glad to assist you.

According to Section 4 of the eBay Privacy Policy, ". . .in response to a verified request by law enforcement or other government officials relating to a criminal investigation or alleged illegal activity, we can(and you authorize us to) disclose your name, city, state, telephone number, email address, UserID history, fraud complaints, and bidding and listing history without a subpoena."

To view the full text of the eBay Privacy Policy, please go to the following URL:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/privacy-policy.html

If you wish to contact our legal department for further information regarding this policy, please send your correspondence to:

eBay Inc.
Attn: Corporate Counsel
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

I trust this information has been helpful to you. Please feel free to contact us again, at any time, with any further questions.

Regards,

Christian G. H.
eBay Customer Support

Very helpful, thank you.

But not enough to satisfy eBay user Dennis Veatch, who asks, via email:

"So basically anyone with a fax has access to their customer base information. I wonder what they concider an "exceptional case" would be? That's scary, disappointing and disturbing. This guy flat out lets everyone know. It concerns me what the attitude of others that keep their cards closer to their chest.

"I initiated the account closing procedures at Ebay for my account, linking to your article."

So here's a poser for readers. How much personal data can you extract from the helpful eBay staff? No lawnforcement officers, please. ®

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