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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Class Seeks Damages|for Zombie Cookies

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - An online ad company used secret "zombie cookies" to track mobile device users' activities, a class action claims in Federal Court.

Lead plaintiff Anthony Henson sued Turn Inc. on April 1, accusing it of turning Verizon customers' mobile devices into "tracking beacons" that monitor user behavior.

Advertisers use bits of data called cookies to gather web information that could be used for personal targeted advertising.

Henson claims that Turn's "zombie cookies" evaded detection and could not be deleted.

Even if a person deleted Turn's cookie, the company has a process that will "respawn" the cookie, Henson says.

"Turn's act of surreptitiously tracking people against their wishes, and of thwarting industry-standard consumer safeguards of privacy, is unconscionable," the complaint states.

Turn stopped using zombie cookies after a ProPublica report on it in January.

"It is our absolute desire to honor people's choices," a Turn spokesman told ProPublica.

Henson seeks class certification, restitution and damages for trespass to chattels and business law violation. He also wants Turn ordered to provide "reasonable notice and choice" to users about its data collection practices.

He is represented by Michael Sobol with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

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