Friday, March 24, 2006

Website owners accused of violating privacy policy

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is not a stranger when it comes to cracking down on businesses engaged in criminal activities on the Internet. Spitzer's latest target has become Washington, DC-based Gratis. Gratis operates websites that offer ways to receive free products; including FreeiPods.com, FreeCDs.com, FreeDVDs.com, and FreeVideoGames.com.

The company is accused of violating pledges of privacy it made to users registering with the website between 2000 and 2004. Those pledges included the protection of the e-mail addresses of users. Unfortunately, it seems those pledges weren't heartfelt, according to Spitzer. The owners of Gratis are accused of selling customer lists to three independent e-mail marketers.

It's one thing for a website not to have a privacy policy; it's another thing entirely to claim to have one and then to willfully violate that policy without regard to its users. If true, Gratis can fully expect that judgment day will soon be here. If the website can be proven guilty, there's no doubt that Spitzer will make an example out of Gratis. He tends to do that sort of thing to send a message.

Read more from the New York Attorney General's website.

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