Late last week DoubleClick closed the Pandora's box of privacy-related lawsuits that had begun in 2000, and Yahoo opened a box of its own.
Doubleclick moved to settle all the state and federal class-action lawsuits outstanding against it. The suits arose from the advertising company's plan to merge its database of users' Web behavior with real-world, identifiable data about purchases at catalogs and stores.
Most outlets that noted the DoubleClick settlement ran the briefest of wire coverage. InternetNews turned in a more substantial piece, including interviews with some of the original plaintiffs who had sparked the class actions. InternetNews noted that the privacy policies DoubleClick is adopting as a condition of settlement will be among the most consumer-friendly anywhere. The Register's storied cynicism was in abeyance as its scribe characterized DoubleClick's pre-settlement behavior as "better than (that of) many (companies), and no worse than most in its late 90s laissez-faire attitude towards personal data." (A Slashdot reader helpfully pointed out that Slashdot's own advertising is served by Doubleclick.)
In vain did Unspun scour the press in search of a kind word toward Yahoo. In their headlines, both News.com and MSNBC referred to the potential Yahoo flood as "spam." Slashdot readers were predictably outraged. Several suggested that Yahoo users should reset their physical address and phone number to Yahoo's own, and let the flood commence. - Keith Dawson
DoubleClick agrees to settlement (Reuters)
DoubleClick Agrees to Settle Lawsuits Over Internet Privacy (Bloomberg)
DoubleClick Offers to Settle Privacy Suits
DoubleClick squares privacy suit
DoubleClick Settles Privacy Lawsuit
Yahoo users fume over "spam" switch
Yahoo! sneaks in yet more spam
Yahoo Knows Best, Resets Users' Marketing Prefs