Calling it a “major threat” to public safety, the Federal Trade Commission has issued an unusual warning to the owners of the defunct gay youth title XY Magazine, noting that since many of their former subscribers probably live with their parents, they could be endangered by the sale of its mailing list.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has warned two people associated with a now-defunct magazine and Web site for gay teens and young men that they would violate the privacy promises the publication made to subscribers by selling their personal information during a bankruptcy proceeding. The FTC, in a letter sent earlier this month, also suggested that the owners of XY Magazine and XY.com would be violating the privacy standards the company had in place before shutting down if they used the subscribers’ personal information in a relaunch of the magazine or Web site. The personal information is listed as part of the debtor’s estate in a New Jersey bankruptcy proceeding for Peter Ian Cummings, editor and founder of the magazine. XY Magazine’s subscription form said it “never sells its list to anybody.” XY.com told prospective subscribers that their magazines would be mailed in shrink-wrapped black plastic so that subscribers’ parents couldn’t tell what they were getting. XY.com users were told that personal information they submitted “will not be published,” the FTC said.
XY Magazine, which published from 1996-2007, claims it possesses the names, email addresses, and street addresses of between 500,000 and one million former readers. The FTC’s warning is an astonishingly positive move to protect LGBT youth. Amazing, really.