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BizReport : Search Marketing : April 23, 2007

EPIC files FTC complaint against Google/DoubleClick merger

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) wants the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the ramifications of a Google/DoubleClick buyout before the merger is complete.

by Kristina Knight

This is the latest in a string of efforts to stop the merger of Google, the Internet's largest search engine, with DoubleClick, an online advertising firm. Google has said, they will buy the ad firm for $3.1 billion. Surprisingly, though, the EPIC filing seems more concerned with past DoubleClick history than with the possibility of the Google giant becoming even larger.

EPIC is worried about privacy issues. According to the complaint, the group wants the FTC to investigate, saying that with DoubleClick, Google has the ability to "record, analyze, track, and profile the activities of Internet users with data that is both personally identifiable and data that is not personally identifiable".

EPIC also wants the FTC to require Google to create a plan that will comply with online privacy standards. Until that plan is made, EPIC is asking the FTC to halt the buyout.

This isn't the first time EPIC has questioned DoubleClick activities and acquisitions. In 2000 the group filed a complaint against DoubleClick, stating that the company was "unlawfully tracking" user's online preferences and then combining those records with personal profiles in their records. The FTC investigated then and DoubleClick backed away from that policy.

Tags: DoubleClick, Google, online privacy, privacy

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