Ed Foster Knew What He Was Talking About

Ed’s GripeLine column from yesterday, Contract By Typo, seems to have been very on-target — from The Register: Verisign’s SiteFinder finds privacy hullabaloo

On Wednesday, Boston-based Internet security and privacy consultant Richard Smith found buried in the SiteFinder page a so-called “Web bug,” an invisible image file served up by Overture.com, a Pasadena, Calif.-based advertising company that brands itself as a search engine. The bug delivers a cookie that doesn’t expire for five years.

This certainly means the culling of some information, said Smith. “They’re getting a sense of what domain names are mistyped, and perhaps this can be used by a domain name sales company. In addition, Overture is a pay for click search engine, with questionable affiliates.”

The question on everyone’s mind is, what are Verisign and Overture doing with information gathered through SiteFinder? Will the companies be able to tell that the person looking for a medical marijuana site on Monday is the same person looking for a cancer support group the week before?

And, according to Slashdot, the first lawsuit has already been filed, albeit for reasons other than privacy concerns: VeriSign Sued Over SiteFinder Service; a CNet News reposting of a Reuters item, too: VeriSign sued over redirect Web service

Update: Donna points to another dimension explored over at LawMeme: VeriSign Hijacks DNS Typos . . . And Creates Binding Contracts?