Consumer group slams Google's DoubleClick takeover

Europe's major consumer group BEUC said that it feared Internet search engine Google's takeover of online ad tracker DoubleClick would damage European Union privacy rights and limit consumers' choice of web content, an Associated Press report said.

Their plea to EU regulators comes after US consumer privacy advocacy groups asked the US Federal Trade Commission to look at how the two companies, when combined, would have access to an unprecedented amount of data on consumers' web usage and Internet search habits, the Associated Press report said.

Cornelia Kutterer, BEUC's senior legal adviser, said the association had asked the European Commission and other European authorities to look into privacy concerns, even though the two companies have not yet requested EU approval for the $3.1 billion deal, the report added.

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

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

Google's privacy policies are already being looked at by an EU panel of national data protection officers to see if it stores search information for too long, the Associated Press report further said.
Google had no immediate response to BEUC's concerns but the company has said previously that the takeover 'poses no risk to competition and should be approved,' the report added.