ad info

 
CNN.com  technology > computing
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
TECHNOLOGY
TOP STORIES

Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short

Guide to a wired Super Bowl

Debate opens on making e-commerce law consistent

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

More than 11,000 killed in India quake

Mideast negotiators want to continue talks after Israeli elections

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image


DoubleClick privacy czar to be an 'inside watchdog'

Image
Computerworld

March 13, 2000
Web posted at: 8:21 a.m. EST (1321 GMT)

(IDG) -- When the 34-year-old top consumer advocate and legal watchdog for America's largest city feels it's time for a career change, what does he do? Like many people his age, he goes to a dot-com. But not just any dot-com: Jules Polonetsky is DoubleClick Inc.'s new privacy czar.

DoubleClick is the New York-based online advertising firm now being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for its handling of consumer data. The FTC investigation followed complaints and a lawsuit alleging DoubleClick was tracking individuals' surfing habits and matching that information with information in an off-line marketing database. DoubleClick recently suspended that practice and posted a lengthy statement of policy regarding privacy on its Web site. This week, DoubleClick announced it hired Polonetsky as its "chief privacy officer" and was forming a privacy advisory board headed by former New York State Attorney General Bob Abrams.

  ALSO
Internet crime report irks privacy groups
 
  MESSAGE BOARD
 

In an interview with Computerworld, Polonetsky described his new position as DoubleClick's "inside watchdog," ensuring that the company has a privacy policy in place and that the policy is upheld. According to the company, Polonetsky will oversee advertising clients' privacy policies as well.

Polonetsky declined to comment on legal actions involving DoubleClick. In November last year, several Internet watchdog groups, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Junkbusters Corp. and the Privacy Journal, said DoubleClick's acquisition of catalog research firm Abacus Direct Corp. could result in "far-reaching invasions of privacy." In January, a California woman filed a complaint alleging DoubleClick unlawfully obtained and sold consumers' personal information.

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  10 handy Net counter-espionage utilities
  Tired of looking at ads all day?
  How to guard your online privacy
  What that privacy policy really means
  Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
  E-BusinessWorld
  Year 2000 World
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Subscribe to IDG.net's free daily newsletter for IT leaders
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
  News Radio
  * Fusion audio primers
  * Computerworld Minute

By the company's own admission, DoubleClick's November 1999 acquisition of Abacus Direct gave it control of the largest proprietary database of consumer buying behavior used for target marketing purposes on the Internet and through direct mail. This month, after the FTC investigation, DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor publicly stated the company wouldn't go through with plans to merge information it had acquired about consumers' online activities with Abacus' database of personal information, calling his intentions to do so "a mistake."

Polonetsky didn't express concern about the circumstances of his new job. Instead, he said the creation of a chief privacy officer post "demonstrates that the company is committed to meeting the highest expectations of consumer protection" rather than being a defensive move to quiet criticism.

Polonetsky acknowledged that "the company has challenges" ahead, but said he has the appropriate background to deal with such challenges. As consumer affairs commissioner, Polonetsky enforced at the local level FTC guidelines for consumer disclosure practices by advertisers. He also implemented a Web site for complaints against online businesses, which revealed that the number of such complaints "has increased considerably."

Key to reducing consumer dissatisfaction, Polonetsky said, is to increase consumer education about Web use while ensuring that companies are responsive to the consumer's need for privacy. "Sites that earn revenue from advertising should be a good thing," he said. "Businesses and consumers need to reach a happy medium."

Polonetsky added that as the leading player in online advertising, DoubleClick should be "the industry leader in online privacy" and that he plans to "make a strong case for an appropriate direction for the future" while at DoubleClick.

When asked if he saw his career at DoubleClick as a long-term one, Polonetsky said, "I've had a different job every two or three years." Polonetsky was appointed to the consumer affairs post in 1998 by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Polonetsky said a candidate to succeed him hasn't been announced.



RELATED STORIES:
Top 10 Internet-privacy tools
February 29, 2000
New privacy rules could affect IT vendors
February 28, 2000
Privacy moves to top of legislative agenda
February 24, 2000
The coming privacy divide
February 24, 2000
Clinton pledges tech centers, data privacy
January 28, 2000

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
10 handy Net counter-espionage utilities
(PC World)
What that privacy policy really means
(The Industry Standard)
Tired of looking at ads all day?
(PC World)
'Cookie cutting' keeps traffic moving
(Network World Fusion)
How to guard your online privacy
(PC World)
Does more security mean less privacy?
(PC World)
Privacy advocates challenge FBI cell phone tracking
(FCW.com)
Civil liberties groups slam encryption export rules
(Computerworld)

RELATED SITES:
DoubleClick
American Civil Liberties Union
Electronic Privacy Information Center

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.