Amazon settles suit over alleged manipulation of IE browser settings

Amazon.com has entered into a settlement agreement in a 20-month-old case which alleged that it circumvented a user’s attempts to block the company’s website from tracking online activity.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court documents filed last week.

The case was filed in March 2011 by Nicole Del Vecchio and Ariana Del Vecchio who alleged that Amazon deposited an alternative type of tracking cookie, based on Adobe Flash, that couldn’t be blocked by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. At the time, they called Amazon’s policy as it related to IE “gibberish.”

“Amazon knowingly published an invalid P3P Compact Policy and did so intending to  exploit IE’s interpretation that would treat it as a valid,” the initial suit said.

MediaPostNews cites a Carnegie Mellon University study which shows how companies get around privacy settings by providing incorrect data to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. That report stated that many operators “are misrepresenting their privacy practices, thus misleading users and rendering privacy protection tools ineffective.”

That case was initially dismissed by U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik, but it was refiled by the Del Vecchios. Ariana Del Vecchio was voluntarily dismissed from the complaint in May 2012, prior to the settlement.