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Google Privacy Concerns in Germany



Last week Google and Microsoft were at Senate hearings in the US about Google’s plan to buy DoubleClick. Google is to spend $3.1 billion in a deal that was first announced in April. This week the news is focused on the same deal in Germany.

According to Google the acquisition will enable more innovation and competition. It will help businesses and consumers. Microsoft is crying monopoly and there are frequent concerns from Microsoft and others about privacy. And there is the now-famous Amazon.com and UPS/FedEx analogy.

This is the way Google put it: we sell ads, Doubleclick delivers ads. In Germany the data protection commissioner of the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein doesn’t agree. He is opposing the deal.

The commissioner says that this merger would lead to a “massive violation of data privacy rights” for consumers in the European Union if the databases of the two companies ever are combined. That’s according to Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner for the state.

He also cites in a letter to the European Commissioner for Competition that search engines keep customer data for too long. Google replied: “We believe that this acquisition will increase competition and benefit both consumers and advertisers, and that it will ultimately be approved by government regulators.”

Earlier, the European Consumers’ Organization has also complained to the European Competition Commissioner, about the merger. Again, the same thing: the sale will lead to a monopoly in the online advertising market.

Also, Google’s stock price is approaching $600 today – a new record. Google’s is the sixth- highest stock price in the U.S. It rose 27 percent this year. At last report the high today reached $596.81.