The Secure Times

An online forum of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law's Privacy and Information Security Committee

Class action filed against comScore over alleged privacy violations.

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            A putative class action was filed yesterday (8/23/11) against comScore, Inc., an internet research and analytics company.  The plaintiffs allege that comScore violated federal law and the Illinois mini-FTC Act by collecting personal information from consumers’ computers without the consumers’ knowledge or consent.  The complaint was filed in the federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois, Dunstan et al. v comScore, Inc. (No. 1:11-cv-05807).

            The complaint alleges that comScore induced consumers to download its surveillance software by bundling the software with third-party free software products such as screensavers, games, and CD burning software, but failed to clearly disclose the extent to which the surveillance software will monitor a consumer’s internet activity and the access the software will have to change privacy and security settings.   The complaint also alleges that comScore intentionally made the surveillance software difficult to disable or uninstall by not deleting it when the freeware with which it was bundled was deleted. 

The claims asserted include violations of the federal Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.),  Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq.), Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq.),  the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/1 et seq.), and common law unjust enrichment.  The plaintiffs are seeking actual, statutory and punitive damages, an injunction to stop comScore’s  illegal practices, disgorgement of profits, and attorneys’ fees.

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Author: Eric Whisler

Associate at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP.

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