Lawsuit says you can't escape Netscape

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York by Abbey, Gardy & Squitieri on behalf of Christopher Specht, alleges that AOL is illegally tracking Web surfers, in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. According to the complaint, Netscape's SmartDownload software program, which is distributed to users of Netscape's Communicator software package, secretly monitors downloads of .exe and .zip files from websites. The lawsuit, filed last Friday, alleges that Netscape transmits information about the files back to itself, along with an identifying software cookie lodged in each copy of Netscape's Navigator Web browser.

"Netscape is using SmartDownload to eavesdrop," says the complaint. "It is using SmartDownload to intercept and to send to defendants information about a communication to which defendants are not a party." AOL has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

In the absence of broad federal internet privacy laws, Web surfers have resorted to private lawsuits like this one to compel companies to change their data-handling practices. DoubleClick, an internet ad server, said in a May filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it faced 15 private class actions, as well as one brought on behalf of California residents. DoubleClick is also under investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission and the Michigan attorney general's office.

The complaint against AOL and Netscape demands a jury trial and asks for an unspecified damage award. It is unknown whether Specht is joined by anyone in his lawsuit or tilting at the companies by himself.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Keith Perine

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?