April 5, 2013 at 4:38 PM ET
A lawsuit charging that well-known Internet data measuring firm comScore uses surreptitious ways to gather data was given class-action status by a federal judge this week.
The suit, filed by two men, one from California, the other from Illinois, was originally filed in 2011 in federal court in Chicago, with allegations that the firm has violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Stored Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The men say that comScore has been able to gather data by drawing in Internet users with offers of free prizes and screensavers, according to the suit. Information collected included credit card and Social Security numbers, user names and passwords and Web browsing histories of users' smartphones that were synced with their computers.
A spokesperson for comScore told NBC News Friday the firm has no comment on the ongoing litigation, but that comScore "will continue to educate the court on our practices, which we have had a limited opportunity to do given the focus to date on procedural matters."
However, prior to the class-action ruling this week by U.S. District Court Judge James Holderman, comScore shared comments about the suit on its on website.
The firm said, in part that Edelson McGuire, the Chicago law firm representing the plaintiffs "has gained notoriety by filing dozens of class action lawsuits against reputable companies in a variety of industries. The suit is filled with factual inaccuracies, and comScore’s position is that this lawsuit is without merit, and we fully intend to vigorously defend ourselves against it."
The company "prides itself on its privacy and recruitment practices, which have been rigorously reviewed in annual privacy audits conducted by independent third party auditors for the last 10+ years. comScore has voluntarily submitted itself to these audits since our inception."
Jay Edelson of the law firm told NBC News in an emailed statement, that now that the case is a class-action suit, "our clients and the million or so members of the class will have their day in court before a jury." He said he believes the case "will be the largest privacy case ever to be tried."
This story was updated at 8:45 p.m. ET April 5.
— Via The Verge