DoubleClick Relents

The change of heart was greeted warmly by privacy advocates, who agreed to end their campaign against DoubleClick.

"This is an important step for Internet privacy," says Deirdre Mulligan, staff counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology. "We have begun to turn the tide."

DoubleClick's chief executive officer, Kevin O'Connor, admits in a statement that the company blundered by pursuing that path without first putting a clear policy in place.

"It is clear from these discussions that I made a mistake by planning to merge names with anonymous user activity across Web sites in the absence of government and industry privacy standards," O'Connor says in his statement. "We commit today, that until there is agreement between government and industry on privacy standards, we will not link personally identifiable information to anonymous user activity across Web sites."

DoubleClick bought marketing firm Abacus Direct in November. The combined data-gathering of both companies allows DoubleClick to link its own information about customers' Web surfing habits with Abacus's database of customer phone numbers, addresses, and other personal identification. While the result is a gold mine for marketers, it is a nightmare for privacy advocates.

Privacy Advocates Rally

Aside from creating a public uproar, DoubleClick's controversial form of information-gathering spurred a Federal Trade Commission investigation and several lawsuits. One suit involves a California woman who accused DoubleClick of unlawfully obtaining and selling consumers' personal information and Internet cookies to identify users and track their movements on the Internet.

The suit also alleges that DoubleClick tracks and records your visit to a site, in addition to any personal information transmitted on the sites. The trapped data could include your name, age, address, shopping patterns, and your financial information.

Media attention, consumer concerns, and advocacy groups' involvement prompted DoubleClick to reconsider, suggest representatives of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

"There are many lawsuits pending, and I have a feeling that they made a difference," says Mulligan, CDT counsel. "That's not the core of [DoubleClick's business], so why should they destroy their brand name? They can still do personalization, just in a way that is privacy-friendly."

She says the CDT welcomes DoubleClick's promise of more concern for privacy but will continue to raise public awareness of privacy issues online.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Alexandra Krasne

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?