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Two Cases: Consumer Privacy Violators Get Slammed

In the same week, two companies have agreed to settle in separate cases in which each was accused of consumer privacy violations.
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If you don't have a close eye on how your company handles consumer data, take this week's news to heart. 

Two companies this week have agreed to settle charges of engaging in deceptive user tracking and data collection techniques.

“Companies are so excited by this data and how it can be used, but they always need to focus on what it is they are collecting and how they are collecting it," Ruth Yodaiken, an attorney in the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection told Inc. 

KISSmetrics, which provides web analytics tools, has agreed to settle a 2011 class action lawsuit accusing the firm of keeping tracking cookies intact even after users previously deleted or blocked the cookies, Wired reported Monday. Under the proposed settlement, KISSmetrics has agreed not to track users using JavaScript, HTML5, Flash and browser caches without their consent. 

In addition, the proposed settlement gives $2,500 each to the two lead plaintiffs, John Kim and Dan Schutzman, as well as a hefty six-figure payday to their lawyers.

On the same day, web traffic service Compete said that it has agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that the company illegally stored personal data without user consent, according to an FTC release.

Compete, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kanter Media, offers a toolbar providing information to consumers about visited websites in exchange for their future behavioral web data, which it sells to companies. But according to the FTC, Compete also collected valuable private data, including social security and credit card numbers.

Now Compete has reportedly agreed, under the proposed settlement, to obtain consent from consumers before collecting any of their data. In addition, the company must delete or make anonymous any already collected data as well as explain to consumers how to uninstall the data collection software, the FTC said.

The FTC said Compete must also create and manage an information security program with external audits every two years for 20 years.

 

 




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