In the US, a federal judge has decided that online measurement firm comScore does not yet have to disclose confidential information - such as the names of its clients - to web users who are suing the company over privacy violation claims.
The case was first raised in the US District Court in the Northern District of Illinois last August, when plaintiffs Mike Harris and Jeff Dunstan alleged that comScore collects personal and confidential information - such as credit card numbers, passwords and Social Security numbers - from consumers' computers without their knowledge.
At the time, their lawsuit claimed that comScore's practices are in violation of a number of US laws, including the Stored Communications Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.
comScore openly states that once a participant downloads its software, it monitors all the Internet behavior that occurs on the computer on which the application is installed. While it makes efforts to automatically filter out confidential personally identifiable information, the firm admits that it may inadvertently collect such information about its panelists - when this happens, it then purges its database.
Dunstan and Harris alleged in their complaint: 'The scope and breadth of data that comScore collects from unsuspecting customers is terrifying', but comScore vigorously refutes these claims.
Last week, US District Court Magistrate Judge Young Kim ruled that comScore need not disclose data until the plaintiffs are able to bring their claim to court through a class action.
Kim said that the pair will probably settle if they can't obtain this class-action status, and ruled that while this is being determined, comScore need only disclose information that might be relevant to whether the case proceeds as a class-action - including what data it sold to its clients.
Web site: www.comscore.com .
All articles 2006-23 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.