eBay Issues Info Disclaimer

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Online auction powerhouse eBay Inc. is telling users their personal data would be shared if eBay is bought out or merges with another company.

The new privacy policy takes effect May 15, but eBay already has placed notices about it on its site, which counted 22 million registered users at the beginning of the year. EBay asks new users to provide their addresses and phone numbers but does not sell such information to outside parties.

The new policy makes clear, however, that eBay or its subsidiaries “could merge with or be acquired by another business entity. Should such a combination occur, you should expect that eBay would share some or all of your information in order to continue to provide the service.”

The company said the change was being made in light of the Federal Trade Commission’s objections to Toysmart.com’s plans to sell its customer records after it went out of business. Toysmart’s records eventually were destroyed. EBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said the notice in no way indicates the company is considering a merger or is in acquisition talks.

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