DoubleClick confirms FTC probe

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DoubleClick, New York, which has been the target of a complaint by privacy groups to the Federal Trade Commission, disclosed in a Securities & Exchange Commission filing yesterday that the FTC has begun an investigation into its ad serving and data collection practices. In a separate press release, DoubleClick also said the New York state attorney general was staging "an informal inquiry" relating to online advertising and the implications for consumers. In the SEC filing, DoubleClick said it was impossible to determine the outcome of the investigation. Privacy groups have challenged DoubleClick's right to take information from its Abacus Direct database and combine it with new information gathered online. Also in the SEC filing, DoubleClick confirmed it's a defendant in six recently filed class action suits alleging the ad network is unlawfully obtaining and selling Internet users' personal information. DoubleClick said the lawsuits are "without merit" and it intends to "vigorously defend" itself. DoubleClick asked that trading in its stock be halted before it issued the press release this afternoon. The stock didn't reopen for trading during the regular session, but in after-hours trading, it fell to $93 a share, down from $106.50, according to Reuters.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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