DoubleClick Deploys Privacy Swat Team

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DoubleClick, New York, this week appointed Jules Polonetsky, New York City's consumer affairs commissioner, as the company's new chief privacy officer, and former New York state Attorney General Bob Abrams as chairman of DoubleClick's new privacy advisory board. The company also hired John Isay, former chief of staff for New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who will serve as the company's liaison to government agencies.

In announcing the appointments, DoubleClick reiterated its dedication to guaranteeing user privacy and delivering effective online advertising to keep the Internet free of charge.

Kevin Ryan, president of DoubleClick, said the appointment of Abrams and Polonetsky "shows our commitment to ensuring online privacy."

As chairman of DoubleClick's new privacy board, Abrams is expected to help formulate an independent board of outside experts on Internet privacy, security and online ethics. Abrams, who served 15 years as attorney general for the state of New York, did not return calls for comment, but said in a published report last week that the "goal of the privacy advisory board will be to offer the company a variety of concepts and guidelines for the protection of individual privacy."

Polonetsky joins DoubleClick from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, of which he was appointed commissioner by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1998. Previously, he served three years as a member of the New York state Assembly. He said he viewed the assignment as an "exciting opportunity to bring online consumers the benefit of my experience as New York City's chief consumer law enforcement official."

The appointments follow public controversy over alleged plans by DoubleClick and its partners to marry consumers' online clicking behavior with data from the company's recently acquired Abacus Direct co-op database of records representing prospect addresses from 1,100 catalog lists.

DoubleClick issued a statement late last month promising not to merge user names with online behavior across Web sites in the absence of government and industry agreement on privacy standards.

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