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December 15, 2014

PointRoll settles unlawful privacy violation

Digital advertising company has agreed to pay $750,000 settlement.

By CBR Staff Writer

Digital advertising company PointRoll has agreed to pay a $750,000 settlement for using code in its advertisements that unlawfully circumvented the privacy settings in Apple’s Safari Web browsers.

The circumvention happened between December 13, 2011 and February 15, 2012, where cookies were placed on consumers’ Safari Web browsers despite privacy settings configured to "block cookies from third-parties and advertisers", according to the Attorney General in New jersey.

In addition to the monetary settlement, PointRoll has agreed to allow states including Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and New York to monitor its privacy practices.

The company has also agreed to delete cookies previously recorded by Safari and will create a privacy programme to display to websites.

Previously Google was accused of overriding Safari’s user preferences and secretly storing cookies in Safari to track user behaviour.

Google emphasised that the error was a mistake, but it had to pay a $17m settlement to 37 states including the District of Columbia, according to Wall Street Journal.

New Jersey acting attorney general Hoffman said: "We take very seriously the issue of Internet privacy, and are committed to upholding laws intended to protect New Jersey consumers when they are on-line."

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"Today’s settlement with PointRoll should serve as a reminder that we will not tolerate conduct that involves circumventing browser privacy settings without the consumer’s knowledge or consent."

"People have every right to surf the Web without fear that businesses are employing technical tricks to bypass their privacy settings."

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