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New York AG Spitzer sues internet company for massive privacy breach

[JURIST] New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer [official website] on Thursday announced [press release] a lawsuit against Gratis Internet [corporate website] that alleges the company illegally sold the personal information - including e-mail addresses - of between one and seven million survey participants who were promised confidentiality. Gratis induced consumers to provide the information by offering free DVDs, iPods, and video games in exchange for taking general marketing surveys. Experts speculate that the suit involves the largest deliberate breach of privacy via the Internet discovered by US authorities.

Spitzer settled [press release] another breach of privacy lawsuit earlier this month for $1.1 million with Datran Media [corporate website], who purchased user records from Gratis. Datran allegedly bought personal records from Gratis despite knowing that the company promised confidentiality for taking surveys. At the time of the settlement Gratis claimed it did not act inappropriately in its dealings with Datran. AP has more.

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