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DoubleClick throws in the towel on profiling

"I made a mistake," CEO allows

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The recent controversy surrounding Web marketing outfit DoubleClick and its decision to merge a database of personally-identifiable consumer information with its database of Web-user data has come off the boil for now, and much to the satisfaction of consumers for a change. "It is clear....that I made a mistake by planning to merge names with anonymous user activity across Web sites in the absence of government and industry privacy standards," DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor announced today. The company has not yet implemented its plan to associate personally identifiable information with anonymous Web-user activity across Web sites, O'Connor said. He added that "until there is agreement between government and industry on privacy standards, we will not link personally identifiable information to anonymous user activity." In an aside to shareholders, O'Connor offered reassurance that the decision "does not affect our core business activity." "It means we are going to await clear industry standards before we decide the future direction of a number of new products," he explained. O'Connor vowed to expand the company's media, technology, e-mail and off-line data businesses and to continue building anonymous profiles with which to target advertisements to Web surfers. "It is now time for industry, consumers and government to develop a clear set of guidelines that help create a healthy, free Internet while protecting the privacy of all consumers," he said. Precisely what millions of Netizens have been saying for years. ®

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