Class action says media companies deploy 'zombie cookies'

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Class action says media companies deploy 'zombie cookies'

Wed Jul 28, 2010 @ 10:43AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

1477291565_0f79de433b Some top entertainment companies are being accused of secretly spying on the online habits of their website users.

A new class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California targets NBC Universal, MTV Networks, Hulu, JibJab Media, MySpace, ABC, ESPN, and Scribd.

The individual plaintiffs accuse the media companies of using Flash cookies to "respawn" deleted HTTP cookies. In other words, even if Internet users clear their Internet browsers of data files tracking a user's web surfing, the companies allegedly can harvest consumers' personal information anyway.

Many websites place "cookies" on visitors' computers so as to gather information for advertising purposes. The class action asserts that the companies fail to disclose the use of so-called "zombie cookies" in their privacy policies.

The 119-page complaint quotes George Orwell and demands unspecified monetary damages.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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