Privacy Emerges As Major US, EU Issue In DoubleClick Acquistion Review

Despite the fact that regulators are supposed to scrutinize the potential anti-competitive dimensions of the pending acquisition of DoubleClick by Google, privacy has sneaked into the debate as a major issue on both sides of the Atlantic. It almost threatens to overshadow the antitrust considerations, which are the heart and purpose of the regulatory review process. Indeed, privacy isn’t even relevant to the FTC’s analysis.

In Europe the discretion of regulators may well be broader, allowing them to consider a wider range of issues than simply the impact on competition in the market for online advertising.

What seems clear, however, is that a host of developments, well beyond Google-DoubleClick, has recently elevated the issue of consumer privacy online. These include the rise of behavioral targeting, Web history/data retention by search engines, social network data mining (e.g., Facebook Beacon), and people search, among other issues.

The Google-DoubleClick deal has become something of a lightning rod for the entire debate, given Google’s dominant position online. And Google will likely be compelled, as a result, to provide concrete assurances to regulators and specific, tangible measures to protect consumer privacy as a condition of approving the transaction.

Privacy is a critical issue that must be safeguarded and debated thoroughly. But the issues surrounding privacy and online advertising competition should not be conflated in this review process. While conceptually related, they’re legally distinct.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Acquisitions | Google: Outside US | 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