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comScore Reaches $14M Electronic Privacy Class Action Settlement


This is a settlement for the Internet/Technology lawsuit.

New York, NY: A $14 million settlement has been reached in an electronic privacy class action lawsuit pending against ComScore Inc. The lawsuit, believed to have the largest class ever certified under federal electronic privacy laws, represents Web users who alleged they had the online analytics giant's data-harvesting software installed on their computers without their consents.

The lawsuit, filed in 2011, alleges that comScore secretly surveilled thousands of class members information through its proprietary tracking software OSSProxy and sold their private information on to third parties. Allegedly, ComScore bundled the tracking program onto users' computers with seemingly benign applications such as screensavers, music programs or games made by the company' partners, thereby getting past consumer detection.

OSSProxy continuously collects information about people' online activities, specifically search engine enquiries, frequently visited websites, ad clicks and product purchases, and feeds those data back to comScore, which then puts together Internet usage reports for a variety of online service providers.

If approved, thousands of class members could receive an estimated $200 payment from comScore. As part of the settlement agreement, comScore will also be required to alter its privacy policies and end user license agreements to bring its disclosures in line with its data collection practices.

As originally certified, the class included comScore users worldwide, but now consists of a class defined as US users.

Named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Mike Harris and Jeff Dunstan claimed comScore was in violation of the Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by covertly placing OSSProxy on their computers without obtaining the proper consent via end user license agreements.

The settlement class entails anyone who had comScore' software installed since 2005 via a third-party bundling partner. There is also a subclass of users who were not presented with a functional hyperlink to the license agreement.

The case is Harris et al. v. comScore Inc., case number 1:11-cv-05807, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

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Published on Jun-5-14


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