The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has confirmed that it is investigating DoubleClick over claims that the company engaged in "unfair and deceptive practices".

Last week, the online-privacy watchdog, the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC), complained to the FTC that DoubleClick's data-gathering methods contain privacy abuses.

Reuters repeated DoubleClick's assertion that only people who provided personal data to one of the 1,500 Web sites participating in the new program would be tracked by name. But, as the story said, "Once such tracking started, movements would be recorded at all the 1,500 Web sites that carry DoubleClick ads and provide tracking data." The issue only affects US-based browsers.

"The complaint alleges that DoubleClick is unlawfully tracking the online activities of Internet users, and combining surfing records with detailed personal profiles contained in a national marketing database," EPIC said in a statement.

DoubleClick in a statement acknowledged that the company is the subject of the investigation.

However, DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor said the company has offered "opt-out" clauses for more than two years, and has actively educated consumers on privacy issues.

DoubleClick also said it is working to educate the New York attorney general's office on online advertising and its impact on consumers.