Web advertising agency DoubleClick Inc. announced March 2 that it would hold off on its plans to tie personally identifiable information to Internet users’ online surfing habits until government and industry have reached a consensus on privacy rules for the Internet. The decision came two days after five public-interest groups announced that they were filing an “Additional Statement of Facts and Grounds for Relief” with the Federal Trade Commission (see: http://www.cdt.org/testimony/000225ftcdcstatement.shtml), seeking FTC action against DoubleClick. The filing was a followup to the FTC’s Feb. 16 announcement that it is investigating DoubleClick for its privacy practices.

“This is an important step for Internet privacy,” said Deirdre Mulligan, staff counsel of the Center for Democracy and Technology, which is one of the groups requesting that the FTC take action. “We have begun to turn the tide,” she said, adding that the public-interest groups “welcome DoubleClick’s comments, but we want to make sure that the public is involved in efforts to design privacy rules.”