New Jersey State Police
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Law enforcement personnel say LexisNexis retaliated when asked to remove data

More than 18,000 people associated with New Jersey law enforcement filed a class action lawsuit against LexisNexis Risk Data Management, LLC on Monday, alleging that after they asked for their information to remain private, the data broker retaliated against them by freezing their credit and falsely reporting them as identity theft victims.

The lawsuit claims that in December and January — prior to a separate class action lawsuit filed in February — LexisNexis punished law enforcement personnel who asked for information to be taken down by launching a “campaign to freeze the credit reports of Plaintiffs and others, and in doing so permanently mar their credit histories with alleged identity thefts that never happened.”

In the February lawsuit, LexisNexis was one of 118 data brokers sued for allegedly failing to acknowledge takedown requests made by 20,000 New Jersey law enforcement personnel who wanted their personal data removed from the internet. Under a New Jersey law known as Daniel’s Law — named for the son of a judge who was murdered at his home — it is illegal to disclose home addresses and other private information for current and retired police officers, prosecutors, judges and their family members.

LexisNexis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit filed this week alleges that when plaintiffs called to ask for their credit reports to be unfrozen or to flag that they had not been the victim of an identity theft, LexisNexis “openly acknowledged in their letters of retribution that this reporting of identity theft and credit freeze may result in Plaintiffs being denied crucial financial, insurance, and health services.”

Even as LexisNexis froze their credit and incorrectly reported them as identity theft victims, the plaintiffs say the data broker continued to “publish and make available information with their names and home addresses, as well as comprehensive reports on other family members (including minor children as young as 13 years old) living at the same address.”

Despite having a legal obligation to quickly lift credit freezes when asked, LexisNexis still has not done so, the lawsuit says.

“LexisNexis has engaged in a prolonged effort to thwart Plaintiffs’ efforts to lift these credit freezes,” the lawsuit said. “Plaintiffs believe this is part of an unlawful effort by LexisNexis and others to punish and deter attempts to seek compliance with Daniel’s Law, resulting in substantial and ongoing harm.”

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Suzanne Smalley

Suzanne Smalley

is a reporter covering privacy, disinformation and cybersecurity policy for The Record. She was previously a cybersecurity reporter at CyberScoop and Reuters. Earlier in her career Suzanne covered the Boston Police Department for the Boston Globe and two presidential campaign cycles for Newsweek. She lives in Washington with her husband and three children.