Feeds

comScore sued over 'sinister' data collection methods

We make 'commercially viable efforts' not to slurp you

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Data collection outfit comScore has rejected a lawsuit that alleges the company violates US privacy laws, by saying the claims are "without merit and full of factual inaccuracies".

On Tuesday, a suit (30-page PDF/270KB) was filed in the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, by Chicago-based law firm Edelson McGuire on behalf of two plaintiffs who are pushing for class-action status and damages in their case against comScore.

"As one of the biggest players in the internet research industry, statistics gleaned from comScore's consumer data are featured in major media outlets on a daily basis," notes the suit.

"However, what lies beneath comScore's data gathering techniques is far more sinister and shocking to all but the few who fully understand its business practices," it goes on to claim.

"Namely, comScore has developed highly intrusive and robust data collection software known by such names as RelevantKnowledge, OpinionSpy, Premier Opinion, OpinionSquare, PermissionResearch, and MarketScore... to surreptitiously siphon exorbitant amounts of sensitive and personal data from consumers' computers.

"Through subsidiaries bearing innocuous names, comScore uses deceitful tactics to disseminate its software and thereby gain constant monitoring access to millions of hapless consumers' computers and networks."

The lawsuit is also seeking injunctions against a variety of practices that it alleges are violating a number of US laws.

It cites the Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.

The plaintiffs claim that comScore scanned their computers and modified their security settings after they installed the software.

comScore sells its data to over 1,800 businesses worldwide and lists Yahoo!, Facebook and Microsoft among its clientbase. None of those customers are accused of any wrongdoing in the lawsuit.

The company is upfront about its operations:

Once you install our application, it monitors all of the Internet behavior that occurs on the computer on which you install the application, including both your normal web browsing and the activity that you undertake during secure sessions, such as filling a shopping basket, completing an application form or checking your online accounts ... we make commercially viable efforts to automatically filter confidential personally identifiable information such as UserID, password, credit card numbers, and account numbers. Inadvertently, we may collect such information about our panelists; and when this happens, we make commercially viable efforts to purge our database of such information.

"We have reviewed the lawsuit and find it to be without merit and full of factual inaccuracies. comScore intends to aggressively defend itself against these claims," said the company in a brief statement to The Register. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
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
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
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.