Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Google's Purchase of Doubleclick: Privacy Disaster or Positive Step?

Wired.com has an interesting article up about possible implications of Google's recent purchase of Doubleclick (a company famous for its almost ubiquitous multimedia ads). The Center for Digital Democracy says that this deal raises huge privacy concerns, by allowing Google to more easily create comprehensive profiles of individuals' web usage. On the other hand, Google says that the acquisition will actually increase internet users' privacy, because Google will impose its own data retention policies on a company which had been a poster child for threats to on-line privacy. Who's right? At this point it's impossible to say. However, it's worth noting that Google has in the past been willing to go to court to protect the privacy of its users (e.g., in its fight against the US government, described here). Thus, this could be one case where the expansion of a giant organization with omnipresent data collection abilities could actually be a good thing for individual privacy.

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