Saturday, December 22, 2007

Google's DoubleClick Deal Brings Greater Focus on Privacy

Friday, December 21, 2007 3:00 Prime Minister PST

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Nearly lost in the news about the U.S. Federal Soldier Trade Commission's blessing on Thursday of 's acquisition of was another action by the agency: the publication of a projected set of privateness rules governing online behavioural advertising.

The release of the is an of import and welcome step, said , a senior chap at the , a broad think tank, and a law professor at . Although some privateness groupings blasted the for approving Google's DoubleClick deal, the acquisition have helped topographic point focusing on the full online advertisement industry's privateness practices, Swire said.

"It's good that the FTC is shining a limelight on this industry," Swire said Friday. "Online advertisement is in its 2nd boom. They're trying tons of new techniques; some of those techniques have got privateness problems."

The FTC hosted a workshop on behavioural advertisement and privateness in November. The agency's projected privateness principles, a series of "self-regulatory" steps the FTC is recommending for online advertisers, come up in portion from that workshop.

Among the FTC's proposals:

-- Web land sites that cod information for behavioural advertisement should supply a "clear, consumer-friendly, and outstanding statement" about the ground for collecting that data. Consumers should be able to take whether they will let that information to be collected.

-- Any company that accumulates or supplies consumer information for behavioural advertisement should supply "reasonable security" and should maintain information only as long as necessary to carry through legitimate concern or law enforcement needs.

-- Companies should only accumulate sensitive information for behavioural advertisement if they obtain express consent from the consumer.

The (CDT), a grouping focused on online privateness and civil liberties, also praised the FTC for releasing its privateness principles. The rules are a "clear mark that the committee makes not believe that the industry's current self-regulation model is sufficient to protect consumers today," said in a statement.

CDT also called on Google to "step up and do a clear, public statement about its programs for proactively protecting consumer privacy." Consumer privateness in the behavioural advertisement marketplace stays an industrywide concern that necessitates the focusing of consumers, policymakers and companies, CDT said.

The release of the privateness rules should direct a signaling to online advertisers, said , CDT's president. "In releasing these principles, the FTC hasn't closed the door to other options," she said in a statement. "Self-regulation is portion of the solution for protecting consumer privacy, but clearly self-regulation hasn't lived up to its promises. We'll necessitate a strict premix of self-regulation backed by regulating enforcement."

Other privateness groupings criticized the FTC for its opinion allowing Google's acquisition of DoubleClick to travel forward. The federal agency had ground to move on privateness concerns raised by the amalgamation and failed, said , executive manager director of the , one of three privateness groupings that asked the FTC to barricade the amalgamation or enforce privateness conditions.

The FTC could have got got established "the necessary precautions for personal information and competition that could have allowed a planetary [privacy] model to emerge," Rotenberg said. "[The FTC's] exclusive intent is to protect the public interest. It failed to make so ... in a lawsuit that volition have got far-reaching implications for the Internet economic system and the privateness rights of American consumers."

, a communicating professor at the , agreed. The is still investigating the Google-DoubleClick deal, with a determination not owed until April, and it is likely that regulators there will take a harder expression at privateness issues, he said.

Consumer trailing and privateness should be portion of the FTC's antimonopoly reappraisal when it looks at online advertisement deals, he said. "You can't speak about the digital advertisement marketplace today without talking about competition in targeting Americans," he said.

Google back ups the FTC's attempts to make privateness guidelines, , the company's senior frailty president for corporate development and main legal officer, said in a . "The FTC's determination publicly affirms what we and numerous independent analysts have got been saying for months: Our acquisition makes not endanger competition in what is a robust, innovative, and quickly evolving online advertisement space," Drummond wrote. "In fact, we firmly believe the dealing will increase competition and convey significant benefits to consumers, web publishers, and online advertisers."

Critics failed to demo specific privateness harms, added , president of iGrowthGlobal, a conservative think tank. "I don't see a job because cipher have demonstrated the acquisition will ensue in any privateness injury to consumers," he said. "All the allegations are very hypothetical. Privacy advocators asseverate that Google's and DoubleClick's activities wound consumers, but they don't supply any evidence."

If the FTC had blocked the deal, it would be "penalizing success, and that would direct a bad signaling to the marketplace," Philipp Lenard added. "That would also be bad for consumers."

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