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Junie Hoang

A lawsuit against Amazon.com’s Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for disclosing an actress’s age could have a larger impact on the way online companies gather and use personal information.

That’s the upshot of a New York Times article this morning, which digs into the case of the 40-year-old actress who sued Amazon.com’s Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for revealing her age.

The actress, Huong Hoang, known by the stage name Junie Hoang, alleges that IMDb wrongly published her age based on the private account information she provided to sign up for an IMDb Pro subscription.

The case comes amid heightened concerns about online privacy and data gathering, as exemplified by the reaction to Google’s move to combine its data collection across its online properties.

Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, tells the NYT: “A judgment would likely be a great concern for the many companies who actively use mining services and information.”

Lawyers for Hoang say the disclosure of her age — revealing her to be “many years older than she looks” — has made it tougher to find work.

Lawyers for Amazon.com wrote in a previous court filing, “Plaintiff’s attempt to manipulate the federal court system so she can censor IMDb.com’s display of her birthdate and pretend to the world that she is not 40 years old is selfish, contrary to the public interest and a frivolous abuse of this court’s resources.”

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