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On what basis does Google dismiss privacy in DoubleClick merger?

An  Associated Press article, "Google Chairman dismisses privacy issue" could turn out to be like waving a red cape in front of a bull.

  • Relevant parts of the AP story:
    •   "Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said Wednesday that U.S. regulatory approval of his company's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will not be hindered by concerns over privacy."
    • "Schmidt said that Google, when considering the acquisition, "looked very carefully" at privacy and other issues that would come under legal review "because we knew competitors would raise those issues, as indeed they have."

Since Google has now assured everyone in advance and represented that Google self-reviewed the privacy issue "very carefully" it may be incumbent on the FTC to stress test that bold assertion of fact with a subpoena for:

  • All internal records of Google's "privacy review" including all names, titles, emails, calandars and cellphone records of all Google personnel doing the "privacy review."
  • What did they examine, analyze and review?
  • What types of privacy issues were discussed, and in what level of detail?
  • Did anyone have the role of representing the interests of the average consumer?
  • How much freedom and backing did the privacy team have to investigate concerns?
  • What privacy standard did they use? Google's, Doubleclick's, eTrust's, or the OECD guidelines?
  • How often did the Google team meet, for how long and what concerns were raised and dismissed?
  • Who led this "privacy review" and how high up in the managment team were the reviewers, relative to those on the deal team considering other issues?

It seems as if Google has ensured that the FTC has to look into the privacy issue "very carefully" itself to check on the veracity of these bold representations.

  • Google better have been very rigorous in its own examination the privacy issues in the proposed Google-DoubleClick merger.
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