Advocates Declare Privacy War Against DoubleClick

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Consumers are declaring war against the Internet's largest advertising company. Last Thursday a Marin County woman sued New York-based DoubleClick in California Superior Court, accusing the online marketer of illegally collecting and selling consumers' private personal information. The Judnick vs. DoubleClick lawsuit also calls for a ban on DoubleClick's ability to track and profile users without the prior written consent of the Internet user.

At issue is the new DoubleClick privacy policy, which was quietly posted on the company's site last week. The notice discloses DoubleClick's plans to compile a master database of consumers, including each person's name, address, credit card purchase history and demographic data, that will be linked to user traffic patterns online. Privacy advocates worried over exactly this prospect last summer when DoubleClick acquired a direct marketer called Abacus that tracks U.S. consumers offline. DoubleClick is able to follow users online because it operates an ad network that serves millions of ads across the Internet. Every ad includes a small "cookie" that tags the computer and Internet connection. DoubleClick's older privacy policy did not correlate online habits with actual consumer names. MORE>>