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Ad firm agrees to settlement for alleged privacy settings

By Mark Payne | Dec 15, 2014

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan | Illinois Attorney General's Office

PointRoll, Inc., a subsidiary of Gannett Corp., has agreed to a $750,000 settlement with multiple states over allegations that it violated Internet privacy laws, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Thursday.

PointRoll allegedly placed cookies, which track a user's browser history, on some Safari browsers used on Apple products, such as the iPhone and the iPad. The company allegedly found a way to circumvent users' browser settings, which were set to block the cookies.

The alleged violations occured between Dec. 13, 2011 and Feb. 15, 2012. 

“Consumers have a right to privacy online without fear that businesses are invading that privacy for profit,” Madigan said. “This settlement should be a warning to Internet advertisers that a consumer’s privacy must be respected, and they must adequately notify users how to manage their level of privacy online.”

In addition to the financial settlement, the company can no longer make changes to an Internet user's browser settings. It also must educate its employees on the importance of Internet browser privacy. The company also must reconfigure its computer servers to remove any cookies placed on computers using the Safari browser. 

Other states that were part of the settlement include Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Maryland and New York.


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