Friday, April 27, 2007

Connecticut Sues Telemarketers for Violating Do-Not-Call law

The Attorney General of Connecticut is suing three companies for violating the state Do Not Call law. According the AG’s press release, “Tri-State Home Improvement, LLC, of Branford, First National Mortgage Group, Inc., of Orange and Craftmasters Windows and Siding, LLC, of East Hartford called consumers on the do-not-call list and, in some instances, continued calling even after recipients said they were on the list.”

Blumenthal filed the suit charging violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. He can seek up to a $5,000 fine per violation, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains and reimbursement of the state's litigation expenses. Blumenthal is also seeking orders allowing consumers to void contracts they signed as a result of the illegal phone solicitations.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is quoted as saying:

"These companies harassed consumers with unwanted and unwelcome sales pitches - effectively breaking into their homes - exactly what the do-not-call list statute should stop. Even when told numbers were on the do-not-call list, the companies continued calling them, invading consumers' privacy and wasting their time."

"The message to telemarketers: Do not call means do not call. What part of 'no' don't you understand? We will fight intrusive, infuriating calls at home - still all too common. Consumers have legal rights to stop unsolicited telemarketing calls. Companies must be held accountable for flagrant, frequent violations of the state's telemarketing safeguards. Remedies should enable consumers to collect money and void unwanted contracts when these telemarketers break into their homes."

See: Connecticut Attorney General Sues Telemarketers

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Google Buys Doubleclick for $3.1 Billion

Google has agreed to buy Doubleclick for $3.1 billion, one of many recent big purchases for Google, as they seek to expand their operations. Doubleclick is the major online advertiser which became one of the first businesses to appoint a Chief Privacy Officer, as a result questions arising from their own purchase of an offline target maketer. In early 2000 Doublclick bought an offline marketer, Abacus Direct. The company compiled information on consumers such as names and addresses, which Doubleclick planned on combining with information it had learned about consumers web surfing habits. There was an outcry, and Doubleclick dropped its plans.

Google is clearly trying to beef its advertising, which is a major source of income.

Randall Rothenberg, is quoted in the New York Times as saying: “You can dive deep into that data and say who were those people, where do they live, what were they doing when they looked at those ads? You can protect privacy and provide great insights for advertisers.”

The investigation began in February 2000 after the company announced plans to combine consumer information collected online with personally identifiable customer data from its newly merged subsidiary, Abacus Direct. The point of compiling such dossiers is to better target advertisements to consumers as they surf the Web.

The government agency issued a letter Monday to DoubleClick's lawyers notifying them of the investigation's end. The investigation was launched primarily to determine whether DoubleClick, in its collection of online consumer habits, or "clickstream data," merged sensitive information from its subsidiary in violation of its privacy policy.

"The issue that triggered the investigation was a report that they were planning to combine offline information from Abacus with their clickstream data. However, this never took place," said FTC spokesman Eric London. "As a result, there was no violation of their privacy policy."

Google Buys an Online Ad Firm for $3.1 Billion

Google agreed to its largest acquisition yesterday, reaching a deal to purchase DoubleClick, the online advertising company, from two private equity firms for $3.1 billion in cash, almost double what it paid for YouTube last year. And perhaps just as important, the deal kept DoubleClick from the hands of Microsoft.