German DP Commissioner against Google-Doubleclick deal

By EDRi · October 10, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The Data Protection Commissioner of the German state of Shleswig-Holstein
Thilo Weichert publicly opposed the Google’s acquisition of Doubleclick in a
letter to EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Mr. Weichert declared that: “At present we have to assume that in the event
of a takeover of DoubleClick the databases of that company will be
integrated into those of Google, with the result that fundamental provisions
of the European Data Protection Directive will be violated.”

The Commissioner is concerned that creating a user profile and a detailed
analysis of personal data will be much easier after the merge. “Such an
approach contradicts fundamental data privacy principles of the European
Union: limited specific use, transparency, the right to object, the
protection of sensitive data and the right to having data deleted.” He added
that even before the merge, the companies could have used behavioural
targeting and therefore not meet their obligations under European law on
data protection regarding sensitive data or deleting data that is no longer

He concluded that “The merger of the two Internet companies would thus
lead to a massive violation of data privacy rights” in the European Union
and asked for a direct intervention in this case.

Mr. Weichert’s open letter comes at the time when the European Commission
has already sent questionnaires to Google customers on the matter, even
before Google has actually filed to the European Union’s top antitrust
regulator for the purchase. Also BEUC (the European Bureau of Consumers’
Unions) asked the EU support in checking the privacy aspects of this deal.

Meanwhile, Google is defending the deal in the US Senate where an
investigation has started regarding the creation of a possible online
advertising monopoly. Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond claimed
that: “Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick will help advance these goals
while protecting consumer privacy and enabling greater innovation,
competition, and growth.” Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith told
Senators that the deal “would put Google in control of 80% of the market for
both text and banner adverts on the Internet.”

Google also presented in a written submission to the Senators its plans to
better protect the privacy of its consumers, following consultations with
consumer and industry groups. One of the suggestions would be to use a
“crumbled cookie”, which would be “a way of storing personal information
separately without identifying it all as coming from one person or machine.”

Data protection advocates protest against Google’s DoubleClick deal

Google defends DoubleClick bid (28.09.2007)

Google proposes ‘crumbled cookies’ in privacy pledge (1.10.2007)

EDRI-gram: EU asks the customers’ opinion on the DoubleClick – Google affair