Doubleclick Appoints Privacy Overseers

SAN FRANCISCO (03/08/2000) - Hoping to quiet a chorus of criticism that its data-gathering practices allowed privacy abuses, Internet advertising company Doubleclick Inc. announced today that it has hired two New York public officials to oversee its privacy policies.

Doubleclick has hired Jules Polenetsky, New York City's Consumer Affairs Commissioner, to be its chief privacy officer. In addition, Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General, has been named by Doubleclick as the chair of its privacy advisory board.

In the newly-created position of chief privacy officer, Polenetsky will act as an ombudsman for Internet users, monitor company privacy policy and liase with the public, the company said in the statement.

As chair of Doubleclick's privacy advisory board, Abrams will head an independent group of outside experts on Internet privacy, security and online ethics, the company said.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating complaints of unfair and deceptive practices lodged against Doubleclick over its privacy policies, and the Michigan Attorney General's office has initiated legal action against the company on similar grounds.

An online privacy group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, last month accused Doubleclick of "unlawfully tracking online activities of Internet users and combining surfing records with detailed personal profiles contained in a national marketing database."

Last week, Kevin O'Connor, Doubleclick's chief executive officer, said the company would end the practice.

Doubleclick, in New York, can be reached at +1-212-271-2542, or at http://www.doubleclick.com/.

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