Google-DoubleClick Drama Moves To European Stage

Much of the discussion and debate in the U.S. over Google’s proposed acquisition of DoubleClick was about the impact of the deal on consumer privacy, even though that wasn’t technically part of the anti-trust analysis before the FTC. Accordingly, the FTC approved the acquisition with one commissioner dissenting largely on privacy grounds. Now, Pamela Jones Harbour, the FTC commissioner who dissented, will testify before the European Parliament committee on civil liberties about her concerns and rationale. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, will also testify in Europe this week.

Consequently, some of the discussion and drama of the U.S. hearings will be recreated in Europe. The Europeans, however, appear poised to be more aggressive than their American counterparts in holding Google’s feet to the fire. While I’m less familiar with the European rules, it would appear that the commissioners there have more legal flexibility than the FTC in terms of what may be considered in making a decision on the legality of the acquisition.

Europeans have been very vocal and protective of consumer privacy, much more so than U.S. officials. It’s possible that they will ask for some set of concessions from Google regarding consumer privacy protection as a condition of approving the deal. No such restrictions were attached by the FTC.

It’s also possible, though less likely, that they will decline to approve the acquisition outright, which would kill it notwithstanding the U.S. FTC’s favorable decision. European regulators must rule on the deal by early April.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Acquisitions | Google: Critics | Legal: General | Legal: Privacy


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide