NEWS23 October 2012

Kissmetrics settles ETag tracking lawsuit

Legal North America

US— Kissmetrics has reached a settlement with two consumers who sued the company over its use of ETag technology to track website visitor behaviour.

Plaintiffs John Kim and Dan Schutzman will get $2,500 each while Kissmetrics has agreed to pay attorney fees and litigation costs of $510,000.

The settlement still needs to be approved by federal court. Kissmetrics has not admitted any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

Lawsuits were filed within days of a paper being published by internet privacy researcher Ashkan Soltani and others which took issue with Kissmetrics’ use of ETag technology to track website visitor behaviour.

ETags are stored in a computer user’s browser cache so they are unaffected when cookies are deleted. But the information these ETags contain allow for deleted cookies to be recreated so web tracking can continue.

After the paper was published in 2011, Kissmetrics overhauled its tracking system to do away with ETags and other forms of persistent cookies and objects. It said it would only use first-party cookies in future. It also added support for do-not-track headers and a consumer-level opt-out option.