Privacy lawsuit targets Comscore

Posted by Mark Raby

Comscore is used to being the source of news headlines, but this time it's a little bit different.

The company, which specializes in researching sales data for the consumer electronics industry, has been hit with a lawsuit alleging it unlawfully took and collected personal information like social security numbers and credit card information.

It is Comscore's numbers that the media rely on for stories about Android vs. iPhone or Internet Explorer vs. Firefox, for example, as it has proven to be a very reliable and trustworthy source for that kind of data.

Of course, when you collect information about how consumers interact with technology on a daily basis, there are bound to be issues with privacy and personal data.

For example, Comscore is able to track what Internet browsers consumers are using by embedding tracking mechanisms in all sorts of software programs that users download, sometimes not even realizing that by running that piece of software, someone is watching them.

That's not the illegal part, though. What Comscore is in hot water about is the fact that it can track every single thing a user does, including every keystroke - which means it would be easy for someone at Comscore, or someone who hacked Comscore's data, to grab credit card or social security numbers entered by unsuspecting users.

Comscore "constantly collects, monitors, and analyzes every online move, no matter how private, of over two million persons," according to the lawsuit.

The research firm has already responded to the suit, saying it is completely without merit. At this point, though, it will be up to the legal system to determine whether it is or not.