Court OKs DoubleClick Privacy Settlements

As expected, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York approved a settlement of privacy litigation against DoubleClick Inc. this week.

DoubleClick agreed to implement a number of privacy provisions in exchange for the dismissal of lawsuits pending in New York, California and Texas.

It will revise its privacy policy to include easier-to-read explanations of its business and will merge personally identifiable information with clickstream data only if consumers opt in. The company also agreed to routinely purge data collected online and to have its cookies expire within five years. In addition, it will pay $1.8 million in lawyers fees and allow an independent auditor to review its compliance twice a year.

DoubleClick also plans to serve 300 million banner ads that invite consumers to learn more about Internet privacy.

The litigation stemmed from DoubleClick's merger in November 1999 with Abacus Direct and its stated intention shortly thereafter to merge offline data with online data.

An objection filed May 6 by privacy advocates Electronic Privacy Information Center and Junkbusters did not have any bearing on the court's decision.

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