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Manhattanite Files Suit for Web 'Sniffing Attack'

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A Manhattan woman is claiming that her privacy rights were violated in a Web "sniffing attack," when an online ad company downloaded a program onto her computer that tracked her Web surfing.

Sonal Bose filed suit in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday, charging that Interclick, the ad company, surreptitiously monitored her Internet activity using a program called "flash cookie," which was put on her computer without her knowledge or permission.

"We know the Internet is ad supported, but we don't think it has to be supported this way. It has to do with how much the consumer knows and how much consent they have given," said Bose's lawyer David Stampley. "It is not necessary that it be done this surreptitiously." Stampley's firm is seeking class action status.

Bose claims that, with the information from the program, Interclick followed her surfing and chose specific ads that meshed closest with her demographic profile and interests.

Interclick, which did not immediately respond to calls for comment, reaches an audience of 149 million unique users a month. It is the 10th largest ad network in the country, according to Media Metrix.

The Delaware-based ad company previously claimed that they no longer use the monitoring software, according to the complaint.

This is the second "sniffing" lawsuit to be filed in as many weeks. The first was filed last week in California against the parent company of YouPorn.com, claiming it was using software to "peek in" on a user's browser history.