The New York City-based PulsePoint allegedly placed unauthorized cookies in Apple Inc.'s Safari web browsers that were able to bypass privacy settings and allow third-party advertisers to target consumers with ads based on the users' online activities. The unauthorized cookies allegedly allowed the company to place as many as 215 million targeted ads on web browsers used by New Jerseyans between June 2009 and February 2012.
"PulsePoint circumvented privacy settings designed to protect consumers," Hoffman said. "This settlement puts online advertisers on notice that they must respect consumers' privacy settings, or end up paying far more in penalties than any violations would generate in ad revenue."
Under the terms of the settlement, PulsePoint must pay a $566,200 civil penalty, pay a $33,800 reimbursement for attorney and court fees, pay $150,000 for privacy protection programs, pay $250,000 for in-kind advertising services to protect the public from fraud and other public interest purchases, make sure that it protects the privacy and confidentiality of obtained consumer information by implementing privacy controls and procedures, provide detailed information on its website about the kinds of information it collects and how the information is used and maintain systems to instruct Safari web browsers to expire any cookies placed by PulsePoint prior to the settlement's effective date.
The $1 million settlement with PulsePoint only reflects the company's practices as they affected New Jerseyans.