On Monday, New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that Datran Media, a leading e-mail marketer, has agreed to pay $1.1 million to the state for illegally sending unsolicited e-mails to more than 6 million Americans, according to a March 13 press release.
The settlement ends New York state’s case against Datran, which allegedly obtained and improperly used information garnered by several companies that legally collect such information from Web surfers, according to the release.
The largest of the companies Datran bought information from, Gratis Internet, boldly stated on a number of its websites that information it collected would not be sold or passed on to interested parties.
The Gratis sites include www.freeipods.com and www.freedvds.com.
An investigation by the attorney general’s office found that Datran was aware of Gratis’ pledge not to sell consumers’ information, but it bought the data regardless. Datran then proceeded to use the information it collected to send spam e-mail messages, according to the attorney general.
In addition to the $1.1 million it must pay in fines, Datran also must destroy all information it gathered from Gratis and the other companies; it must not purchase information on consumers until it independently determines the acquisition is legal and doesn’t violate any privacy policies; and finally, it must appoint a chief privacy officer, or another person, to handle its privacy compliance initiatives.
“Companies must adhere to known privacy policies and promises,” Spitzer said in the release. “Failing to do so constitutes a clear consumer fraud.
For related news coverage, read CIO sister publication, CSO’s N.H. Woman Pleads Guilty in Porn Spam Case and Two Suspects Netted in Spam Sting.
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