By Madison Ruppert | End the Lie
The website analytics firm KISSmetrics finally settled a lawsuit which accused the company of violating the law by creating an unstoppable tracking method which allowed them to recreate cookies after users deleted them and even track users who chose to block cookies.
While the settlement is relatively small, it could very well set a precedent and perhaps create a climate less conducive to the ongoing Silicon Valley data mining arms race, the blatant disregard for the privacy rights of users and digital spying operations in general.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of John Kim and Dan Schutzman and originally included some of the major companies that implemented the KISSmetrics technology, although the clients were later dismissed from the lawsuit.
In the suit, the Kim and Schutzman accused KISSmetrics of “violating California and federal anti-hacking laws and misappropriating their personal information for profit,” according to Threat Level.
The proposed settlement (see PDF here, courtesy of Threat Level), will leave the plaintiffs with a mere $2,500 each while their lawyers will get over 100 times that amount. The case involved over $500,000 in legal fees at rates ranging from $350 to $580 per hour, so this lawsuit obviously isn’t going to make Kim and Schutzman rich.
While this didn’t result in a large payout for the plaintiffs or the public, it did result in KISSmetrics “largely” agreeing not to use their highly questionable techniques any longer, unless users are given notice and a choice in the matter.
Personally, I find the tentative language employed hardly satisfying since they stop short of saying that they will never use such methods again under any circumstances.