Will Not Combine Consumer Info With Database Without Notification

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WASHINGTON ( -- Ad server DoubleClick agreed to settle several class action lawsuits stemming from publicity about its 1999 purchase of Abacus Direct.

DoubleClick will pay lawyers fees of $1.8 million and agree not to combine personally identifiable information previously gathered with Web data without first giving consumers notice and an opportunity to opt in.

The suits were an outgrowth of publicity over DoubleClick's plans to combine offline information from its direct mail subsidiary Abacus Direct with its own online data to create consumer profiles.

Privacy critics blasted the plan, and class action lawyers filed suits contending DoubleClick had violated various federal and state consumer protection statutes.

DoubleClick also agreed not to keep any cookies on consumers computers for more than five years and to launch an education campaign that will include online and print ads.

Last March, 13 of the suits had been dismissed.

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