In privacy circles, a mostly forgotten incident from the end of the dot-com euphoria aptly illustrates the lack of regard most companies have toward protecting personal data, even if they make a point of promising to do so.
With the Web surging with an enormous amount of commercial activity and sensitive information, the FTC had recently beefed up its Internet consumer-protection efforts. Commission regulators decided that Toysmarts blatant disdain for its own privacy oath was just too contemptuous to be ignored. Backed by 44 state attorneys general, the FTC sued to block the Toysmart data auction, arguing that it constituted a "deceptive practice." In early 2001, an agreement was forged under which Toysmart investor, the Walt Disney Co., would buy the companys customer data for $50,000 and then promptly destroy it.