European Consumer Group Slams Google's DoubleClick Deal

04 July 2007

BRUSSELS: Consumer rights group Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs has added its voice to the growing clamour over Google's proposed $3.1 billion (€2.28bn; £1.55bn) acquisition of online advertising shop DoubleClick.

BEUC is lobbying European Union commissioner Neelie Kroes to intervene in the deal which, it fears, "may have a negative impact on the selection of online content available to consumers and on privacy".

The putative takeover is already under anti-trust scrutiny by the US Federal Trade Commission following complaints by Microsoft and telco AT&T.

US privacy groups have also welcomed the probe, which they hope will address their concerns that the acquisition would "give one company access to more information about the internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world".

BEUC contends the word's leading online search engine would have a near-monopoly on web advertising after the DoubleClick acquisition, and consumers "would have no real ability to choose services other than those served by Google".

It also drew attention to privacy issues, warning: "The unprecedented and unmatched databases of user profiles will constitute significant and possibly insurmountable barriers to entry but they appear to be in clear violation of users' privacy rights."

Last month EU officials forced Google to cut the time its retains consumer information on its databases [WARC News: 14-Jun-07].

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff