Feeds

FTC sanctions behavioural ads firm over deceptive 'opt-outs'

Sing a new song, Chiquitita Chitika

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The FTC has settled a complaint with a behavioural advertising firm alleged to have misled consumers into believing they had opted out of its services.

Chitika uses cookies to track surfers' actions on the web as well as the searches they make in order to serve them with ads that more closely match their perceived interests. The firm's privacy policy states that it allows web users to opt out of receiving cookies or receiving targeted ads.

However, according to the FTC complaint, from at least May 2008 until February 2010, users who went to the trouble of going to Chitika's website and opting out were only excluded for 10 days. After that time, Chitika would begin using cookies to serve them with targeted ads all over again, contrary to their clearly expressed preference.

The FTC launched a complaint against Chitika on the basis of its investigation, arguing its "opt-out mechanism was deceptive and violated federal law". Chitika has agreed to settle this complaint, on a no-fault basis, with a promise that it will provide a much clearer opt-out mechanism that it will honour for at least five years. The firm also agreed to get rid of user information harvested during the period of its previously ineffective opt-out as well as refraining from making statements on its privacy policies that might be construed as misleading.

Breaches to the agreement, which strengthens the FTC's hand in case any further legal action is needed, are liable to lead to fines of $16,000 per incident, as explained in an FTC statement on the settlement.

Chitika claims to serve 3 billion page impressions every month from 100,000 websites. ®

Bootnote

Chitika, means “snap of the fingers” in Telugu (a South Indian language). So, slightly disappointingly, the name of the firm is not a tribute to the similarly sounding song Chiquitita, by 70s Swedish pop legends ABBA.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.