Two plaintiffs have filed a class-action lawsuit against market analysis firm comScore for using tactics to collect user information that may have violated privacy rights.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, alleges that comScore has engaged in "deceitful tactics" to collect information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, passwords and other data.
Additionally, the plaintiffs, Mike Harris of Illinois and Jeff Dunstan of California, stated that comScore uses its data collection software in a "deceptive and calculated fashion" to monitor personal activity of unsuspecting consumers. The charges include stealing information from word processing documents and emails, changing security settings and opening backdoors on end-user systems, among others.
"The scope and breadth of data that comScore collects from unsuspecting consumers is terrifying," the lawsuit stated.
According to technology news provider Computerworld, a comScore representative said the lawsuit was "without merit and full of factual inaccuracies."
While a company like comScore, which is one of the largest consumer market analyst firms in the world, is likely to bounce back from such an incident, smaller businesses may not fair so well. Data compliance and privacy violations can be devastating for a company. In addition to potential fines, a company that violates people's privacy rights is likely to suffer significant reputational damage, as Internet users will be less willing to trust them with their information.
comScore isn't the only large company to make headlines for its data privacy practices this week. Facebook highlighted the other side of data privacy when it revealed that it was revamping its privacy controls to give users more say regarding what information is published about them on the social network.
Facebook, like comScore, been the target of criticism about its privacy practices. However, in Facebook's case, the move to address these issues will likely cause some critics to reevaluate their stances.