Matthew Ingram comments on this week’s court decision tossing claims against McDonald’s, Interclick, Mazda, and Microsoft for use of “flash cookies.”
In this case, the plaintiff tried to argue that the use of “flash cookies” and other methods to track her for advertising purposes, even after she had deleted her cookies, was a breach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as New York’s unfair competition laws and the common law principle of trespass. As noted in a post on law professor Eric Goldman’s blog,virtually all of the claims were thrown out by the judge, except a deceptive business practices claim against Interclick and the charge of trespassing on the plaintiff’s PC.
Internet advertising is no different than other kinds
The interesting thing about the case was that the judge specifically said that the plaintiff wasn’t entitled to compensation for the invasion of her privacy, even though the software used by the advertisers and websites in question recreated her cookies after she had deleted them. As Kashmir Hill at Forbes describes, Judge Deborah Batts said that as far as the court is concerned, internet advertising is no different than other kinds of advertising, and tracking users for that purpose doesn’t meet the test for the kind of harm the law was designed to protect against.
Read more on GigaOM.