MADIGAN ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT OVER ALLEGATIONS THAT DIGITAL ADVERTISING FIRM BREACHED INTERNET PRIVACY
Attorneys General Allege PointRoll Inc. Circumvented Privacy Settings to Expose More Consumers to Internet Ads
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced a $750,000 settlement with PointRoll Inc. resolving a multistate investigation over whether the company violated consumers’ privacy by unlawfully circumventing privacy settings in Apple’s Safari web browsers.
PointRoll is a digital advertising and technical services company owned by the Gannett Corp. Madigan and her counterparts from five other states alleged that PointRoll unlawfully deployed a browser circumvention technique that allowed it to place browser cookies on consumers’ Safari web browsers despite privacy settings configured to “block cookies from third-parties and advertisers” or alternatively set to “accept cookies” from “visited sites” (for Safari browsers on Apple iPhones and iPads) between December 13, 2011, and February 15, 2012. Cookies are small files set in internet users’ web browsers that allow advertisers to gather information about those users including, depending on the type of cookie, their web surfing habits.
“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.”
Also under the settlement, PointRoll must:
Joining Madigan in today’s agreement were attorneys general from the following states: Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Van Hise handled the case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.