DoubleClick, New York, promised not to link consumers’ personal information with data about their online clicking behavior until a definitive agreement on privacy standards is reached between the government and industry leaders, the company said yesterday.
“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,” said Doubleclick CEO Kevin O’Connor.
The statement was released after a storm of criticism from numerous advocacy groups were filing a Statement of Additional Facts and Grounds for Relief with the Federal Trade Commission demanding immediate action to prevent harm to consumer privacy as a result of DoubleClick’s Abacus Online Alliance.
Richard M. Smith, an Internet security expert working with the Center for Democracy and Technology, had also posted URL Web address strings complete with tracking data (www.tiac.net/users/smiths/privacy/banads.htm) which he claimed proved what DoubleClick’s actual history of data collection looked like. The strings indicate that aggregate data on user’s health interest, mortgage information and video rental habits were being transmitted to Doubleclick.