Barton Nudges Google Again On Privacy

    May 22, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

The top Republican on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Joe Barton, again asked Google about its privacy practices.

Just as the Representative from Texas did last year, Barton again posed questions to Google regarding the protection of consumer information. The approval of Google’s purchase of ad network DoubleClick magnified the concerns about Google having control of an overwhelming amount of details about people and the ways they use the Internet.

(An aside to Rep. Barton: your House website’s latest news is dated December 18, 2007. You might want to get a summer intern to update that at least to 2008.)

Barton’s latest request to Google and its CEO, Eric Schmidt, said, “It is critical that Google’s and DoubleClick’s policies and procedures for handling this information be transparent, and that every effort is made to protect consumers’ data.” Reuters noted Barton’s latest concerns.

He also asked if people would be allowed to opt-out of data collection by Google and DoubleClick, and how Google planned to merge DoubleClick’s data with existing consumer information already held in Google’s servers.

Google’s Adam Kovacevich told Reuters: “We have had a constructive ongoing dialogue with Rep. Barton’s staff about our privacy practices, and while the integration of DoubleClick into Google is still underway, we will of course respond to his questions.”

During the acquisition process, Scott Cleland testified in September about the astonishing reach Google stood to gain in consumer information with the DoubleClick acquisition.

“If a business wants its content to succeed on the Internet, it would have no choice but to use the Google-DoubleClick-YouTube online advertising platform,” said Cleland in September 2007. “No real competitive choice.”