A company that marketed web surveillance technology and six of its client companies are being sued by a group of customers who claim the practice violated privacy laws.
Fifteen people filed a lawsuit last week against NebuAd and six internet service providers. The company had developed a product which tracked users’ online habits in detail.
The data was used to created advertisements that targeted particular individuals as they browsed various web pages.
This practice violates both state and federal privacy laws, according to those that brought the suit. They say that under anti-wiretapping statutes, NebuAd should have notified them of their practice and received consent.
"Like a vacuum cleaner, everything passing through the pipe of the consumers’ Internet connection was sucked up, copied and forwarded," the lawsuit stated, according to the Associated Press.
The customers are asking for more than $5 million in damages and have requested that their suit be used as a class action representing others who were affected.
In September, representatives from ISPs appeared before Congress to recommend that the industry could adequately protect customer privacy through self-regulation.