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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Certifies Class in ComScore Spyware Case

CHICAGO (CN) - A judge certified a class that accuses an Internet research company of profiting off the personal and financial data of its users, collected with free game software.

ComScore lured customers to install its software by advertising free screensavers, games with free prizes and other programs, according to the complaint. After improperly obtaining the visitors' personal information, the company allegedly uses such information for its own purposes.

The information collected included Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, username and passwords, the contents of iPod playlists, the names of every file on the user's computer, web browsing history of smartphones synced with the computer, and portions of every PDF viewed in a web browser.

After discovering that ComScore was monitoring their online behavior, Mike Harris and Jeff Dunstan filed a federal class action in Chicago, alleging violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Stored Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

U.S. District Judge James Holderman certified a class Tuesday of "all individuals who have had, at any time since 2005, downloaded and installed ComScore's tracking software onto their computers via one of ComScore's third party bundling partners," as well as a sub-class of users not given a link to the license agreement before installing ComScore's software.

"Most of the issues that comScore alleges require individual adjudication and make administration of a class action infeasible have already been addressed," the 20-page ruling states. "The issue of whether each individual plaintiff downloaded OSSProxy will be determined primarily by ComScore's records, and if substantial individual adjudication is necessary the court will consider appropriate class limitations. The issue thus presents no obstacle to class adjudication. In addition, the issues of whether plaintiffs consented to OSSProxy's data collection, the scope of that consent, and whether ComScore exceeded that consent can all be determined on a class basis."

Holderman certified a class based on all claims except unjust enrichment, which cannot be litigated as a class "in light of the geographical diversity of the plaintiffs and the variation in applicable law."

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