DoubleClick confirms hack; privacy suit dismissed

Internet advertising giant DoubleClick Inc. had mixed news to report Friday. It said that privacy lawsuits filed against the company in the U.S. had been dismissed, and confirmed that it had fallen victim to a computer hacker.

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald dismissed all federal privacy suits brought against DoubleClick, the New York-based company said in a statement Friday.

In a 71-page opinion, Judge Buchwald dismissed class action suits filed against DoubleClick, in which lawyers had alleged that its advertisement delivery practices violated the Electronic Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Judge Buchwald, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled that the complaint "fails to plead violations of any of the three federal statutes under which they bring suit," DoubleClick said.

In January, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission dropped its own 11-month investigation into whether DoubleClick had acted improperly when it combined its own information, such as customers' IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, with the physical information from offline marketing company Abacus Direct, which DoubleClick had purchased.

DoubleClick also confirmed Friday that it had been the victim of a hack attack, but said it suffered only minimal disruption to its service. "Service wasn't really affected for our customers," a spokesman said. "We have lots of redundancy in our servers."

The company doesn't believe there was any serious impact to its networks, but the company was still working Friday to ensure system integrity, Jules Polonetsky, DoubleClicks' chief privacy officer, said in a statement.

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