New York based DoubleClick came out with a public statement today, pledging that the information it collects for and about its customers won’t be shared with Google after the $3.1 billion acquisition: “Google would not be able to match its search data to the data collected by DoubleClick, as DoubleClick does not have the right to use its clients’ data for such purposes.”
But have you read any online company’s privacy section lately?
There always seems to be that caveat of “we reserve the right to change this.” It would only a take a series of below-the-radar, fine print updates before Google and DoubleClick share each other’s info. Right now the companies are asking a lot in assuming the public can trust them not to change their relationship indefinitely.
Thus, privacy groups are on the rise to see that something more substantial is done. Three digital-privacy groups asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Google-DoubleClick merger, explaining that neither Google nor DoubleClick has taken appropriate steps to safeguard the data each company collects about its consumers’ Internet behavior. This is all according to an 11-page complaint (click here for PDF) by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy, and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups.
Some changes the groups hope for: a “meaningful data destruction policy” and the ability for consumers to access any data the companies have on them. TechConsumer is no stranger to worrying about Google’s power (see Is anyone else nervous about Google?). For once it would be nice if the search giant could just admit that this concern is real. All this talk of not having the right to do something does not change the ability.
If it takes privacy groups to hinder that ability, so be it. It’ll be much more reassuring than the standing “but we promise not to do anything bad” from Google and DoubleClick.