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Public concern over Internet privacy mounted when DoubleClick bought a database of 90 million individual purchasing profiles that it could match to the 100 million anonymous profiles it had already culled from tracking visits to Web pages that host its ads. The company is facing six different invasion-of-privacy lawsuits as well as other investigations, including one by Michigan’s attorney general, who quipped “forget Big Brother, this is the arrival of Big Browser.” DoubleClick argues common browsers allow Web surfers to monitor and delete cookies — a good point but is it realistic? We suspect that many consumers surfing the net still have 12:00 blinking on their VCRs.

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