Is there reason for concern here? I think so. Anytime you get one organization with access to that much information about the surfing, searching and page viewing habits of large numbers of people there is serious potential for abuse.
The fact that the data is individually identifiable is part of the problem.. and of course, they claim they can’t collect meaningful data without it being personally identifiable.. this gives ’em the added bonus of being able to use this information to not only target advertising to each individual web browser profile, but it becomes possible to know lots of information and from that, deduce lots more.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Trade Commission will likely consider the privacy issues raised by Google Inc. (GOOG) (GOOG)’s proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick Inc. as part of its antitrust review of the transaction, analysts said Tuesday.
Antitrust reviews generally focus on monopoly concerns, such as whether the combined company will be able to raise prices without fear of competition. But there is precedent for them to address privacy worries, analysts said.
Ari Schwartz, deputy director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonprofit advocacy group, said “the FTC has looked at consumer protection concerns in the context of a merger,” citing the 2001 combination of AOL and Time Warner. In that deal, regulators focused on opening Time Warner’s cable systems to competing broadband Internet providers, among other conditions.
Now that this deal looks like it’s going to be approved it’s more important than ever to make sure of your online privacy. Things like setting your browser to delete cookies when you close it and even learning to surf the web anonymously are going to play a greater role in keeping your private information private… Including what searches you do and your web surfing habits.