EDRI supports PI's comments on Google-Doubleclick merger

By EDRi · November 7, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRI) is supporting the letter Privacy
International (PI) sent on 5 November 2007 asking the head of the European
Commission DG Competition, Commissioner Kroes, to take the merger of
Google-Doubleclick to the next phase. PI argues that the merger could have
serious implications for privacy innovation in advertising.

The letter explains the problems that the merger could bring to the online
advertising market: “Google’s purchase of Doubleclick is particularly
worrying because it is a significant consolidation in this domain and we
worry that this very competition to provide high-quality privacy practices
will dissipate. Google’s dominant position in the search marketplace will be
compounded by Doubleclick’s dominant position in online profiling, leading
to a potentially abusive situation for the protection of privacy. If the
merger is approved, then Google’s dominant service will transform radically
from one with a search advertising function into one that collects both
searches and browsing habits of users. ”

PI showed how the decision could influence privacy of the Internet users if
the merger is approved :
“Privacy innovation could suffer under the merger as the two largest online
databases come together. Other companies will have to compete against this
massive entity and we worry it will lead to a race to the bottom for privacy
protection. (…) Little is actually known about how all these companies
protect their customers’ data, even though they must do so in accordance
with European privacy laws. (…)We know little about how firms make use of
this data.
Google promises that it does not yet create online user profiles, but it is
purchasing a firm that is renowned for the depth and extent of its online
user profiles. We need strong and enforceable assurances that profiles will
not be developed and enhanced through this merger.”

BEUC, the Consumer’s Organization, as well as the Data Protection
Commissioner of the German state of Shleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert, have
publicly opposed the Google-Doubleclick deal. However, Commissioner Kroes
announced on 15 October: “We are looking at the influence on competition
and that’s it.” The new deadline for the enquiry has been set for 13
November 2007.

PI Comments on Google-Doubleclick Merger to the European Commission

EU review of Google bid won’t cover privacy issue (15.10.2007)

BEUC expresses concern over DoubleClick acquisition by Google (18.07.2007)