DoubleClick pays up to end privacy probes

Foots states' bills

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Online advertising systems maker DoubleClick Inc said yesterday that an investigation by ten US States Attorneys General into its privacy protection practices has been halted after the company agreed to a number of safeguards on its data usage and agreed to pay out $450,000 to offset the cost of the probe.

The company has signed a settlement that forces it to maintain a privacy policy that also binds its partners and that ensures consumers' data is only used in a manner consistent with the privacy policy when it was collected, meaning the firm cannot change its privacy policy at a later date to sell data it has already collected.

The deal also forces DoubleClick to store data over three months old offline and to develop a system that allows consumers targeted by its DART ad serving system to view the categories of advertising their cookie is associated with. Third-party auditors will be hired to independently review DoubleClick's compliance with the policies.

The New York-based firm said the settlement does not amount to an admission of guilt. The attorneys general for the states of New York, which led the inquiry, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington were involved in the probe.

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