Digital Rights Groups Ask FTC To Block GoogleClick Or Obtain Strict Privacy Protections

Three digital rights organizations have filed a joint complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on Friday over Google’s planned $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, citing privacy concerns, InfoWorld (via Yahoo) reported. If the merger is allowed, the three groups — Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group — want the FTC to:

— ensure guarantees from Google and DoubleClick that they will protect users’ privacy by agreeing to destroy all cookies and other identifiers associated with online searches.
— compel DoubleClick to remove all information identifying individual users from any records it transfers to Google.
— extract a public explanation from Google on how it would protect users privacy and allow users to view information collected about them. Google said that it keeps logs of page requests in order to detect patterns and protect its servers from attack, as do other website operators.

The complaint is available here (pdf). Other formal complaints are likely as this doesn’t even begin to address the competitive concerned being raised in some quarters.

Cnet: Nicole Wong, Google’s deputy general counsel, dismissed the complaint as baseless. “User, advertiser and publisher trust is paramount to the success of our business and to the success of the acquisition. We can’t imagine taking any actions that would undermine these relationships or the trust people have in using our products and services.” Google fielded as many as 3.5 billion search queries last month. While it usually stores that data, Google said it would erase those records after 18 to 24 months.