Google’s DoubleClick Buy Draws EU Criticism

    July 5, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The latest concerns come from the European Consumers’ Organization (BEUC), which found plenty of reason to worry about DoubleClick and Google merging their consumer databases and mining them.

Google's DoubleClick Buy Draws EU Criticism
Google’s DoubleClick Buy Draws EU Criticism

Like their American counterparts who have concerns about the privacy implications of the $3.1 billion deal, the BEUC does not want such a massive trove of consumer data at one company’s fingertips.

An AP report on the BEUC appeal to European Union regulators cited Cornelia Kutterer, BEUC’s senior legal adviser, on the organization’s worries:

“They have so far complementary databases with private data. If they merge them, this could lead to unmatched databases of profiles,” Kutterer said. “If they can combine them, this could lead to a violation of user privacy rights.”

In a letter to data privacy and consumer rights regulators, BEUC said the combined company would have and could exploit enormous amounts of personal information about users as they click on Web pages and applications.

“Never before has one single company had the market and technological power to collect and exploit so much information about what a user does on the Internet,” it said. “The unprecedented and unmatched databases of user profiles . . . appear also to be in clear violation of users’ privacy rights.”

US lawmakers and agencies in Washington DC have heard similar concerns. When Google announced the deal, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and other groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the deal.

“EPIC further urged the FTC to require Google to publicly present a plan to comply with well-established government and industry privacy standards such as the OECD Privacy Guidelines. Pending the resolution of these and other issues, EPIC encouraged the FTC to halt the acquisition,” the group said of its filing.