Privacy advocates concerned about Google-DoubleClick

Posted on Thursday, Apr 19 2007 @ 10:40 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
First Microsoft called for an antitrust suite against Google because the search engine giant managed to buy DoubleClick and they didn't, and now privacy advocates are also becoming a bit concerned. They state the new deal will give too much personal information in the hands of just one company:
How will the search-advertising powerhouse treat the massive amounts of data it already stores on people's search histories once it also has at its disposal a storehouse of data on people's surfing habits from DoubleClick, the No. 1 digital ad-serving company? Specifically, will Google combine the two data systems to map not only what someone searches for, but also which sites they visit, videos they watch and ads they click across the Web in order to better target marketers' promotions?

"It leaves too much personal information about all of us in one company's hands--Google's," said Jeff Chester, founder and executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy watchdog. The CDD has called on the Federal Trade Commission and European Union to stop the merger for privacy and anti-competitive concerns. On Monday, Microsoft (which reportedly was also in talks to acquire DoubleClick) and AT&T stoked those fears and also asked the FTC to examine the merger for anticompetitive issues around online advertising.

Google says that such fears are unwarranted. (The deal is expected to close later this year.) When asked about such worries Tuesday at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on Tuesday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt replied that the company recognizes the importance of privacy and making people comfortable with its practices. He speculated that Google could create an opt-in system for consumers, or maintain separate data storehouses.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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