DoubleClick to settle privacy suits

A federal court on Friday granted DoubleClick preliminary approval to settle all state and federal class-action lawsuits that charged it violated the privacy of Web surfers.

The preliminary settlement, set to be finalized May 21, would clear up class-action lawsuits from California, Texas and New York that were consolidated last year. The suits charged that DoubleClick violated state and federal laws by surreptitiously tracking and collecting consumers' personally identifiable data and combining it with information on their Web surfing habits.

Under the settlement, DoubleClick has agreed to give consumers clear notice and choice of any data-collection practices within its privacy policy. Among other provisions, the settlement requires DoubleClick to obtain permission from consumers before combining any personally identifiable data with Web surfing history.

"DoubleClick will continue to provide the same full range of marketing solutions for our clients, buttressed by new and improved internal controls and protections to further safeguard consumer information," DoubleClick Chief Privacy Officer Jules Polonetsky said in a statement.

Legal counsel for the plaintiffs viewed the agreement as the foundation for best practices in online advertising.

"The settlement is fair and reasonable," said Ira Rothken, one of the lead plaintiffs' settlement counsel. "I hope that the online advertising industry on the whole will look to this settlement for guidelines on how to conduct their own business practices."

News source: ZDNet

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