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DoubleClick hit by email privacy war

Users urged to hit back at plans to compile mega database

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The Internet's largest advertising company, DoubleClick, is under fire from a leading consumer rights group as the row over the way it collects and uses Net users' personal data escalates. The group - the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) - is calling upon Net users to bombard DoubleClick with emails urging the ads giant to rethink its privacy policies. The CDT campaign -- "I will not be targeted/Send DoubleClick the message -- has been prompted by DoubleClick's close association with other online commercial organisations. The cookies that DoubleClick uses could be combined with other companies data collection activities to produce a single database holding detailed information on millions of Net users all over the world. While the use of cookies is now commonplace, CDT argues that DoubleClick's efforts to link online activity with names, addresses and financial history is altogether more sinister. Such information would be incredibly valuable to any online marketing operation, but it is not so good for the humble user, CDT warns. The CDT site says: "DoubleClick, a company that uses "cookies" planted on the computers of many Internet users to customize online advertisements, has begun to link up online surfing habits and purchases with offline names, addresses and other identifying information, putting in place the last piece of a comprehensive Internet tracking system and threatening to deprive consumers of control over their identity online." Users are invited to send a standard email to DoubleClick and around 50 of companies it is associated with, calling for an end to such methods. Some of the Net's biggest names are being targeted along with DoubleClick, such as Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, CBS, CompuServe, Freeserve, Hewlett Packard and Shockwave. Last week, Harriet M Judnick of California initiated legal proceedings against DoubleClick in attempt to force it to get users' prior consent before harvesting information about them. ® See also: DoubleClick sued over alleged cookie abuse The Center for Democracy & Technology

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