NEWS20 June 2011

Judge approves Quantcast and Clearspring settlement

Legal North America

US— Quantcast, a web measurement firm, and ad widget company Clearspring are to pay $2.5m to fund research into online privacy issues to settle allegations that they used Flash cookies to track web users against their wishes.

The settlement agreement received court approval last week. Around $2m has been earmarked for academic institutions, including Berkeley University, which acted as a catalyst for the class-action lawsuit when it published a paper showing how Flash local shared objects could be used to respawn previously deleted HTTP cookies so as to continue tracking web users.

Eighteen consumers who were named in the lawsuit as plaintiffs will receive $1,500 each. Quantcast and Clearspring deny any wrongdoing and deny that they use Flash cookies in the manner alleged.

Adobe, the maker of Flash technology, recently upgraded its software to make it easier for users to delete unwanted local shared objects.