FTC concludes DoubleClick investigation

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The Federal Trade Commission has ended its investigation of the privacy issues stemming from DoubleClick's purchase of Abacus Direct.

In a letter today included on its Web site, the FTC said the investigation was concluded because it saw no proof that DoubleClick used or disclosed personally identifiable information in violation of its privacy policy.

The FTC investigation began after privacy groups complained that DoubleClick's 1999 purchase of Abacus Direct in a stock deal that was valued at the time at $1 billion, would violate privacy rules. The complaint charged that DoubleClick's plan to combine its online profiling information with offline information gathered by Abacus Direct, violated consumers' privacy rights and DoubleClick's own privacy policy. In the face of a firestorm of opposition to its combining information, DoubleClick backed off a plan to possibly combine online and offline data. Combining online and offline data was one reason why DoubleClick had originally been interested in buying Abacus.

The company first delayed action, then subsequently announced it would hold off until industry standards could be set and that it would work with the Network Advertising Initiative, the industry organization of third-party Web servers.

For more details, see full story.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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