Google-DoubleClick Deal Draws Criticism

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Europe's major consumer group BEUC said Wednesday that it feared Internet search engine Google Inc.'s takeover of online ad tracker DoubleClick Inc. would damage European Union privacy rights and limit consumers' choice of Web content.

Their plea to EU regulators comes after U.S. consumer privacy advocacy groups asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to look at how the two companies, when combined, would have access to an unprecedented amount of data on consumers' Web usage and Internet search habits.

Last I checked there was plenty of tools to prevent cookies and such (using a proxy for instance?). To me this sounds like a case of missing information and a need for education of the users. You can reject certain cookies, you can delete them (or even modify them yourself). As far as users not knowing their information would ultimately go to Google with a Double CLick buyout? 90% of them already use google, if they were so worried about them I am not sure you would see such high usage.

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Privacy Isn't Dead, or At Least It Shouldn't Be: A Q&A with Latanya Sweeney

Several years ago, Scott McNealy, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, famously quipped, "Privacy is dead. Get over it."

Oh privacy is definitely not dead. When people say you have to choose, it means they haven't actually thought the problem through or they aren't willing to accept the answer.

Remember, it's in [McNealy's] interest to say that, because he very much shares that attitude of the computer scientist who built the technology that's invasive; who says, "Well, you want the benefits of my technology, you'll get over privacy". It's exactly the kind of computer scientist we don't want to be graduating in the future. We want the computer scientist who will resolve these kinds of barriers in conflict, identify them and resolve them in their technology design.

Are we postponing the privacy problem, or are we confronting it?

A lot of the surveillance can be done with privacy protections. But under the current administration, those in Homeland Security call it the 'P word'. Their statement is that as long as you don't say the P word you don't have a P problem, whether you do or you don't. So the FBI gets slapped in the wrist for gathering all of this additional data, but a lot of that could have been anonymized. But right now, there is no funding or interest in using these technologies at all.