Feeds

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

Sing a new song, Chiquitita Chitika

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.