E-commerce tracking practices raise privacy questions

"Richard Forno, assistant director of the UMBC Center for Cyber Security, noted that researchers have found many companies that use technology like NaviStone's but don't disclose it in their privacy policies.

"It's not surprising that companies are probably violating their own policies because of this," he said. "But then again, who reads the privacy policies? ... People don't even know what privacy policies are sometimes."

Albert Gidari of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet & Society argued in an email that the Cohen and Allen piracy lawsuits are "ill-conceived." But he said the cases might trigger action by the Federal Trade Commission for unfair or deceptive trade practices, which plaintiffs' attorneys "hate because there is no private cause of action for them to bring." That's because the lawyers don't make any money from an FTC action."