NebuAd, ISP Partners Targeted in Class Action Suit

NebuAd and 26 of its ISP partners are the targets of a class-action suit that was filed this week in a California Federal District Court.

The complaint, filed Monday on behalf of 16 plaintiffs, claims NebuAd and Internet service providers committed illegal privacy and computer security breaches against Internet subscribers. ISPs named in the suit include CenturyTel, WOW, CableOne, Embarq, Knology, and Bresnan Communications. The filing also targets an additional 20 unnamed ISP defendants, referred to as “John Does,” which it claims also worked with NebuAd.

The six ISPs identified in the complaint retained NebuAd earlier this year to conduct trials of the vendor’s behavioral advertising platform. None have active relationships with the company now, however. Indeed, NebuAd backed away from ISP behavioral targeting (ISP-BT) earlier this fall after drawing scrutiny from Congressional leaders and privacy advocates.

The class action suit alleges the defendants violated two federal laws (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) as well as two California laws (the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the Computer Crime Law). To those, plaintiffs added charges of aiding and abetting, civil conspiracy, and unjust enrichment.

Regarding the Electronic Communications Privacy Act violation, the suit alleges “Defendants have intentionally used such electronic communications with knowledge…that the electronic communications were obtained through interception for an unlawful purpose.”

Plaintiffs in the suit reside in five states, including Alabama, Kansas, and Georgia. However their complaint asserts claims on behalf of future class members in all 50 states.

MediaPost first reported the lawsuit on Tuesday.

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