Michigan Skeptical of DoubleClick’s Gestures

Michigan Attorney General Jennifer M. Granholm has “reserved judgment” about DoubleClick’s recent pledge to stop tracking individuals by name over the Internet.

“While admitting error is a good first step, I must reserve judgment on whether DoubleClick has truly committed itself to protecting the privacy of Internet users,” Granholm said in a statement released late Monday. “DoubleClick’s statement does not address its practices of placing third-party tracking cookies on consumers’ computers without their knowledge or permission.”

Michigan has filed suit to prevent DoubleClick from placing its cookies on Michigan consumers’ computers without their permission.

Granholm added in her statement, “Without clear, meaningful and enforceable protections governing the collection and use of personal information, citizens will remain hesitant to go online and e-commerce will suffer. Internet privacy protections should result from an immediate dialogue between government and industry, but any privacy standards must be enforceable.”

She continued, “If not, we will find ourselves in the same place we are today: a brave new world where citizens are tracked and secretly surveilled with no ability to prevent the selling or trading of their sensitive personal, medical or financial data for profit.”

Meeting Scheduled with DoubleClick

The Attorney General’s office told the E-Commerce Times that it has scheduled a meeting with DoubleClick sometime in the next two weeks to discuss the issue in more detail.

Last week, DoubleClick Chief Executive Kevin O’Connor said in a statement, “We commit today, that until there is agreement between government and industry on privacy standards, we will not link personally identifiable information to anonymous user activity across Web sites.”

O’Connor admitted that he had “made a mistake by planning to merge names with anonymous user activity across Web sites,” but emphasized that the company had never implemented the plan.

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