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Outcry Over Google's Purchase of Doubleclick

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the fear-of-change dept.

Google 242

TheCybernator writes to mention that several activist groups have cried out in protest of the Google buyout of Doubleclick reported in recent news. "'Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world,' said the complaint lodged with the Federal Trade Commission. 'Moreover, Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects.' The complaint was filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center along with the Center for Digital Democracy and the US Public Interest Research Group, all of which are involved in online privacy issues."

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What? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846421)

No love for Google now? Is the honeymoon over?

Re:What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846485)

The honeymoon is over, and Google cheated on us. The only question now is who do we move on to, or do we just have a one night stand with Yahoo! to get over the pain.

small = good, big = evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846617)

do you not understand? the bigger you get the greedier you are? Oh and NEWSFLASH, google servs the government exclusively, not you! retards

Re:What? (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846809)

I would go with MSN, but I'd be thinking of Altavista.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847003)

The only question now is who do we move on to, or do we just have a one night stand with Yahoo! to get over the pain.
Just don't ask Jeeves. He is sort of old fashioned about these sort of things and is best left alone in his retirement.

Re:What? (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847425)

Meanwhile Microsoft is the drunk slut that is all over you with Live! tattoed on her privates

motto (4, Funny)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846611)

Same old motto, you just read it wrong before.

Google - Don o' evil

Re:motto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846867)

Same old motto, you just read it wrong before.

Google has been freaking me out for a while, I'm surprised nobody has raised much of an eyebrow before. I'm a guy who's happy to let Tivo aggregate my info, so its not that I'm paranoid. But serious, they potentially haev my email (gmail), my search habits, my desktop file index (Desktop), Web site visitors (their webtrends alternative). So now not only will they know what Google Ads sites I've been to, but now the Doubleclick sites.

Fortunately I've been taking counter measures for a while, but its just a matter of time before web ads start greeting users by name with embarassing offers. ("John Smith, we have a special value pack of Viagra and Gay Porn for you" after data mining my Spam inbox and a search for Greg Louganis)

Re:motto (3, Interesting)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847257)

Protection against double click isn't that bad... squid proxy and a block list is always a good start. I have a custom adblock list in all my Firefox browsers that blocks (among others) doubleclick and the google analytics.

I'm not a full on paranoid (can't stand using Tor most of the time for example) but it doesn't mean I have to give my information away just because someone went to the effort of trying to retrieve it. Bad enough they have my email and I log in automatically to that...

And is Google becoming the new Microsoft? Large enough market share to be scary, but still with enough competition that America can't really interject with the justice system?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846783)

I don't know about Google, but we can show our 'love' for Doubleclick by blocking their servers in our hosts files.

Re:What? (4, Informative)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846955)

And where's the outcry for Microsoft holding a lock on 90% of the world's computers via their registration, activation, and spy utulity (Windows Genuine Notification)? Why would these entities complain about someone that is able to bring advertisements to the world--especially about privacy issues when Microsoft violates your privacy every day and they are going unchecked? Listen, you have a company with unprecedented access to the world's computers, information about the users, information about governments, access through whatever means they choose to install, and no piddly group such as these are complaining that Microsoft is unchecked.

When they installed WGN onto your computer and they then started reporting back to their website about your legitimacy they were spying on you. It is akin to having Walmart employees come into your home and search it to determine if those things you have in your home are paid for given the fact that you visit their stores as a customer. This is essentially what Microsoft is doing and they are doing it repeatedly, on a regular basis. Microsoft should get away from it because they installed the equivalent of a hidden camera on your computer? You wouldn't let the government invade your home and you certainly wouldn't allow Walmart to enter it, and you damn certainly should not be allowing Microsoft to do what they are with their WGN program or any other.

This complaint is utter nonsense and loonacy at best. There are greater issues out there for these agencies to complain about. Let's get them complaining to the FTC about Microsoft's WGN utility and the various other things Microsoft is and will do to invade your privacy.

Re:What? (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847049)

I have strong feelings against the Chinese government because of the way that they try to control their population. Does that mean that I can never talk about why I don't like George Bush? Just because there are worse things out there doesn't mean that people can't complain about this Google deal. Maybe, if people pay attention like this, we can make sure that Google never becomes a monopoly like MS is. What if people had been more critical of how MS operated in the eighties and early nineties when they were just starting to get established?

Re:What? (0, Flamebait)

mingot (665080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847419)

Oh for fucks sake, every OTHER article on this site is a "complain about microsoft" wankfest, but god forbid we bitch about the almighty google.

Re:What? (5, Informative)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847133)

What this article so nobly doesn't mention is that it's Microsoft who's stirring up all of these lobbyist groups. Snatching a link off of Google (ahem), we find:

DoubleClick: Microsoft Loses, Then Whines - http://www.247wallst.com/2007/04/doubleclick_mic.h tml [247wallst.com]

Google buys DoubleClick, Microsoft protests - http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/12270 [techreport.com]

Google rivals urge scrutiny of DoubleClick deal - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18132983/ [msn.com]

So, um, don't panic. The community hasn't decided Google is the antichrist; this is all astroturfing, and Yahoo and Microsoft were trying to buy DoubleClick too. ;)

I haven't been around in a while (5, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846423)

Is Google good or bad at Slashdot these days?

Re:I haven't been around in a while (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846559)

Yes.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (2, Funny)

quiahuitl (1092197) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846569)

Google discreetly bought Slashdot two years ago so answer yourself :p

Re:I haven't been around in a while (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846833)

Your DNS queries are being redirected, this only looks like Slashdot.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (4, Insightful)

Lux (49200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846599)

Excellent question.

I think I'm going to start tagging stories with "googleisgood" or "googleisevil" depending on how I think it reflects on the company. If that catches on, we should be able to gather up-to-the-minute data on whether Google is good or evil.

God bless Web 2.0.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847443)

Hmm, lets check out the googleshares on this...
Google 766,000,000
Evil 151,000,000
Good 1,150,000,000
Google + Evil 55,700,000
Google + Good 341,000,000

So Google is currently more good than evil. However, Evil is more google than good is... ok, it makes sense when you're down several coffee's.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846605)

I have long considered them bad. Especially with all the data they are collecting about every search you have ever done. They may not use it now but holy crap if anyone wanted to get a peek into your (private) life Google probably has everything needed.

That's one reason why I generally try to only use Google through Tor or similar proxy.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (4, Interesting)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846647)

When your other choices are Viacom, Clear Channel, and Microsoft, I think Google is still one of the good guys.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846801)

I agree. There is this growing trend of people up in arms about how large Google is, and how evil they are.

Google already holds a good deal of private information about me. And their privacy policies are readily available and clearly outlined.

http://www.google.com/privacy.html [google.com]

What does this purchase change other than a new source of information? They do targeted advertising. Google's income relies on giving away free services in exchange for you giving information to Google. I believe their ads while targeted, often come across as less intrusive and less annoying than anyone else's.

Given their competitors, I think Google is the least evil kid on the block.

While guys like AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo were volunteering private information to China in a massive witch-hunt, Google was the only one that even tried to fight for your right to privacy.

Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo have all in the past put out software that doesn't fully disclose how it spies on you.

Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo have all fought against open standards, open communication and open source software. Google embraces and supports all of these things.

When someone has evidence to demonstrate that Google is in fact evil, and specifically worse than their competitors, I'll be concerned. Everything until then is alarmist propaganda.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846743)

"DoubleClick confirms it! Google is dying!!!!"

Re:I haven't been around in a while (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846789)

Is Google good or bad at Slashdot these days?

I think that curve is time delayed compared to if Apple is a good company or not, and perhaps related to if RMS is just an overzealous nutcase or simply great for the OSS community. So, the short answer is -- there's too many unknown factors to know this at this point.

Re:I haven't been around in a while (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847147)

Is Google good or bad at Slashdot these days?


As always, Slashdot consists of many people, with differing opinions on any topic.

if you're so worried about privacy (3, Informative)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846443)

clear your cookies twice a week and browse the web through Tor.. and use your neighbours wifi connection whenever possible.

Re:if you're so worried about privacy (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846547)

clear your cookies twice a week and browse the web through Tor.. and use your neighbours wifi connection whenever possible.

Firefox has a setting that will clear all settings every time it's closed. Works like a champ. Of course, this won't clear any IP logs on Google's (or whoever's) site, but it's a start. I guess you can force your ISP to keep assigning a new IP to you, but that may be more of a hassle than it's worth. My tin-foil hat doesn't fit that tight.

Re:if you're so worried about privacy (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846779)

Generally., just changing the Network MAC address your operating system or router reports to your cable/DSL modem and then cycling the power to the modem will change the IP address. I don't know how long it would take untill they are all used up and a probkem ensues. Usually the lease time is only 11 hours or but I'm sure some are set way higher. The router will attempt to keep the IP address asigned to the Modem for that length of time so you may end up having to cycle the power twice.

Re:if you're so worried about privacy (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846585)

If you are worried about Google having your private information, be sure to place it somewhere safe and secure say...with your federal government. I am sure they will afford it all the care and consideration you as a citizen deserve..

Re:if you're so worried about privacy (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846589)

It is pretty sad if you have to do something illegal just to have privacy.

Re:if you're so worried about privacy (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847219)

And make sure that nothing about you goes on the internet. Really, most people should be more worried about the stuff that random people and future employers can find out about you through Google rather than some company keeping data about your browsing habits. No one wants google to keep habits about them, but at the same time if you've got pictures of yourself drunk at a party puking over a balcony or smoking weed on your MySpace, that's probably a little more damaging to your reputation.

One company with the most! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846451)

Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world

You mean one company will have more information than any other company? Unthinkable!

In privacy we trust. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846457)

"The complaint was filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center along with the Center for Digital Democracy and the US Public Interest Research Group, all of which are involved in online privacy issues."

Isn't it nice to know all these organizations are working towards one of your goals, slashdot?

MS AssMonkeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846467)

The only people complaining are Microsoft's assmonkeys.

Re:MS AssMonkeys (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846753)

Google outbidded Microsoft, so they are stirring the pot. No this is not a joke, Microsoft for a while had the highest bid and Google outbidded them.

Isn't that "AssMonkies"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847193)

Really, where are the GrammarNazis when you need them.

That has nothing to do with competition (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846473)

and, as such, is irrelevant bashing.

If you want to make an argument as to why Google shouldn't be able to aquire Double Click, you have to talk about prices.. you'll just be ignored otherwise.

Re:That has nothing to do with competition (2, Interesting)

NewsWatcher (450241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846919)

Believe it or not the world still takes more into consideration than just prices. If it didn't we could have been purchasing cheap oil from Iraq for the past decade. Sometimes you gotta look past the prices to what is in the public's best interest. In the USA for example you have laws that limit foreign investment in some sectors.

China probably makes nuclear weapons a lot more cheaply than the United States, but you aren't purchasing them there.

When it comes to a single conglomerate controlling vast amounts of information about a large portion of the world's population, I think it is safe to say prices won't be a factor that will ameliorate concerns.

Re:That has nothing to do with competition (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846949)

Sigh. They're talking to the Federal Trade Commission about a merger.. the only thing that matters is the effect the merger has on the market.

Uhh, duh?! (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846475)

Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world

Wow, and all this time I thought that they already had.

Moreover, Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects.

How is this different than before just by acquiring Doubleclick? (Hint: It's not.)

Yeah, acquiring Doubleclick was fucking lame and I think it was an expensive gamble but that doesn't make them any more or less likely to horde our private data.

Hold up... (1)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846575)

So wait, are you telling me one company is going to have access to more information than any other company!?! No!

You're right (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846733)

Yeah, acquiring Doubleclick was fucking lame and I think it was an expensive gamble but that doesn't make them any more or less likely to horde our private data.

It just gives them more data to horde.

Re:Uhh, duh?! (2, Interesting)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846837)

The whole privacy issue is dumb. Google will have just as much info about you before and after the purchase. i.e. They know everything about your life. Trying to block an acquisition will not change this. I wouldn't be surprised to find out later some of these groups are actually funded by other media companies that wanted to purchase doubleclick.

All of these complaints are stupid anyway because none of them have the public's interest in mind. Do you really think Microsoft feels the purchase will be against the public's interest? Fuck no. They are mad Google beat them to the punch and blocked them. Microsoft runs to mommy (the government) every time they feel they don't have an unfair advantage. The privacy groups don't like Google's data mining projects as a whole and want to stifle the company. Blocking this purchase would do just that. Like I said, all these are greedy personal interests and there's no one speaking up for the public interest right now, which may or may not be allowing this to go through. But we'll never know with all this FUD flying around.

Re:Uhh, duh?! (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847033)

Yeah, acquiring Doubleclick was fucking lame and I think it was an expensive gamble
Google make their money by knowing all they can about you and selling you ads accordingly. As such, buying one of their big competitors in the data mining industry is probably neither fucking lame, nor an expensive gamble.

Google is almost becoming the internet because they can afford to buy all they need to. Seems like a good money making scheme to me.

Google is ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846479)

Google has yet to lead us wrong. I say we let the machine march on.

Making Money... Being Evil... (1, Insightful)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846483)

Nothing Google has done has been surprising to date. They try not to be evil, but making money will always be the trump card. There "Don't be evil" motto has never been a higher priority than "Making money," which I am sure the stockholders are very appreciative of.

They're legally mandated to make $ top priority (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846853)

There "Don't be evil" motto has never been a higher priority than "Making money," which I am sure the stockholders are very appreciative of.

As a commercial corporation they are legally mandated to put making money for their stockholders at the top of their priority list.

It's the job of corporations to make money. It's the job of governments to adjust the rules of the money-making game so that doing good and not causing harm makes MORE money than doing bad and causing harm.

Re:They're legally mandated to make $ top priority (1)

cyngus (753668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847041)

As a commercial corporation they are legally mandated to put making money for their stockholders at the top of their priority list.

Your failure here is to believe that making money and serving your customers interests are mutually exclusive goals. Think how silly that notion is "I aim to stay in business by pissing off my customers." I would say that in the long run the best way to make money is to make your customers happy. I can make a lot of money today by over charging my customers, but I will make more money over my expanse of time as a business by charging fair prices or by engaging in any customer-concerned decision you can think of.

Google in their registration statement basically said "We're going to make the best long-term decisions for the company, it may cause us to lose money in the short term or have wildly erratic earnings, but if you don't like it, take your money elsewhere. If you want a quick buck, leave, we don't want or need you."

Re:They're legally mandated to make $ top priority (4, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847201)

Actually, they are obligated to act in the interests of the shareholders. Larry, Sergey, and Eric own a controlling interest, giving them broad leeway in deciding what the interests of the shareholders are( http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6071494.html [zdnet.com] ). Given that the share structure was public knowledge at the time of the ipo, no one can claim that they bought shares that are now not being properly represented or whatever.

Re:They're legally mandated to make $ top priority (3, Interesting)

cyngus (753668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847271)

Very good point. Just a small note is that actually Larry and Sergey have enough votes themselves to exercise voting control over Google. Although economically they don't have a majority of the company. They have over 60% of the votes, although only have shares worth 20-25% of the company.

Re:They're legally mandated to make $ top priority (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847227)

As a commercial corporation they are legally mandated to put making money for their stockholders at the top of their priority list.


They're obligated to put their stockholders interests at the top of their priority list. If the stockholders place "Do No Evil" above "Make Money" in their own priority queue, the company must reflect this value.

It's the job of governments to adjust the rules of the money-making game so that doing good and not causing harm makes MORE money than doing bad and causing harm.


No, it's it is the job of the customer to make sure 'not causing harm' makes a company more money than causing harm.

If you don't like it... (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846493)

...use an ad blocking software

I for one... A call to the Google Co. (5, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846513)

would welcome a Google takeover of Doubleclick if it ment a radical change to its underhanded spyware tactics [trustix.com] . If Google can reform this company into something less invasive, I really would welcome that.

Re:I for one... A call to the Google Co. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846817)

Yea, And if the spyware didn't crap out the computer in a viral fashion, I wouldn't mind having some installed either.

You right, there isn't any indication that they are going to use this to any extreme way. And it could be highly possible that Google will take this company to a new level of how it operates.

So what? (1)

mudshark (19714) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846515)

I've had this in my hosts file for yonks:

127.0.0.1 anything.doubleclick.net

What for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846587)

host anything.doubleclick.net
Host anything.doubleclick.net not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)

Re:So what? (1)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847211)

I'm sorry, I don't understand your notation. How many Library of Congresses is one yonk?

Big Google is BAD (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846517)

Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world.

That's the status quo. Google may be that company, they may not be. But there must be one company which knows more than any other at this moment.

Moreover, Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects.

That, too, is status quo. Again, nothing is different.

I realize that big companies are evil, mergers are evil, and having all that data in one company's hands might make it more likely to be abused than in the hands of two competitors... but this seems like hand-wringing over nothing. Google just placed themselves in a position to used as a bad guy in this fight. Of course, if companies can get your data wrong and not be liable, wouldn't you rather have 5 companies have it wrong than 6?

Poor Google made themselves a target in an old fight, but I don't really see this as all that bad. This just seems overblown to me.

Re:Big Google is BAD (1)

dgym (584252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847213)

There should be at least two, maybe even as many as three companies with more information than any other, it's called a free market!

Clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846519)

"The acquisition of DoubleClick will permit Google to track both a person's Internet searches and a person's web site visits," it said.

So what do these folk think ad-words and urchin (analytics) let them do?


Not yet worried (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846531)

I'm still more worried about the RIAA than Google. The former seems to have a hand in, or is associated with gun wielding police officers. Just pass some legislation to ensure that Google cannot do this, and that one never _must_ use Google (assuming there are alternatives) and I am fine with this. AdBlock will take care of obtrusive ads.

No limits, really? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846553)

"Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects"

Don't they have to abide by existing privacy laws? If so, then the real problem is: existing privacy laws are inadequate.

It shouldn't matter what company it is.

Re:No limits, really? (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846701)

Clearly, these folks don't think the existing laws are adequate (they're probably right). Of course, that's something to take to Congress (legislative) and isn't something over which the FTC (enforcement) has any power, nor should the privacy issue have anything to do with a proposed merger.

More access than any other company? (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846565)

Seriously, I think they have more access to that information already (than anyone else)... I doubt this will significantly change things... and if it does, so what? I'd choose Google over MS any day to have such information...

Re:More access than any other company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847171)

I would believe that if Yahoo or MS were to buy Doubleclick then they would have more information on websurfers than anyone. So, therefore, if Google were to be blocked from buying Doubleclick, then MS and Yahoo should be blocked also.

Besides what if Doubleclick licensed out their data to all three of these guys. Would that be good? I don't think so.

Personally, I would like all of Doubleclick's records to be lost, but of course I have been blocking Doubleclick for years now, like most people who know anything about them.

Always shoot the guy in front (3, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846567)

FTFS:

...will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world
Isn't there always going to be some company with more access than anybody else? Is it this guy's job to complain about whoever has the most information until nobody knows anything? Or will he be satisfied when two companies know precisely the same amount and there is no longer a single company with "the most".

In the event of a tie... (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846947)

Isn't there always going to be some company with more access than anybody else?

Except when two or more are tied for first place. B-)

= = = =

Their spokesperson was innumerate, which makes his lead argument ludicrous to anybody with even a slight understanding of math.

He was also very unclear on his major point:

  - Google now has access to info on user searches, along with SOME of the link-follows from their search results (those where they hotwired it to go to their servers and forward to the target along with those that use their cache).

  - Doubleclick has access to info on page views where they have ads - info that Google, in the main, doesn't have.

By buying Doubleclick, Google potentially has much MORE information about users' online behavior. It isn't quite as good as having a tap on the users' internet connection. But far less of their browsing will be missed.

Who cares... ? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846583)

That was my first thought. I use ad blocking software and other privacy assurance items. I haven't seen a doubleclick ad in a loooong time.

MS is obviously having second thoughts about not making a better offer. I understand that there are people out there that will be susceptible to ads on the Internet. I don't know if you can ever get some people to surf safely. Google has so far demonstrated a huge amount of honor (honour) with regard to privacy of users. I'm absolutely happy that doubleclick didn't sell out to MS.

If your choices are nothing but differing levels of evil, I say Google is acceptable.

Google is a business (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846591)

If you don't like it, take your business elsewhere. Every business evolves to improve or maintain profitability and competitiveness. If you don't like Google's business practices, go to MSN, Yahoo, Ask, another competitor, or build your own.

As they say, the only constant in business is change. And when you have a market as cut throat as internet advertising, companies are going to do everything they think of to get an edge. Google is a business, and they aren't the government, so I don't have any problem with them having information on me as long as the advertising doesn't get more invasive, like in Minority Report.

Re:Google is a business (1)

SailorFrag (231277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846829)

You make an excellent point. Really, Google <i>can't</i> be caught doing bad things with the data they collect -- otherwise they're doomed (if people don't trust them, they get no traffic, no advertisers and no sites willing to post their ads... any one of which would impact them greatly). The simplest way to ensure that they don't have that problem is if they don't do bad things with the data in the first place. They know this. Why are we freaking out when they haven't done anything yet, nor is there any indication they would even want to?

As far as I'm concerned... (2, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846625)

... let Google have it. I would much rather have a closely scrutinized, 'Microsoft' of online profiling.

Why? Because the more consolidated the resources are, the easier they are to monitor, and the more careful they have to be because they are a larger target if they do violate our rights, or simply piss off the internet community.

I don't like double click any more than anyone else. Mostly because they are very stealthy (well kinda), compared to Google. I know that Google pays attention to what I search for, I can tell by the ads they provide... it's in my face and I trust them (more or less) because they have lots to lose if they start abusing their users.

I really start to freak out when I visit a not-so-reputable site and get adds for "So-and-so lives in mycity,state about 2 miles away and is looking for a good time..." where did they get my address? I wouldn't put is past doubleclick or any of the smaller tracking systems, but Google would be blasted in the media if they were selling our personal info to Porn/Adult 'dating' sites.

I could be completely wrong... maybe no one cares enough to complain and Google is selling us all up the river... but I doubt it.

I do have to admit though, it's kinda scary knowing that anyone has that kind of power to know so much about a person. Kinda like when I reviewed my FBI security clearance paperwork... it's amazing what they can dig up!

Re:As far as I'm concerned... (2, Informative)

Rosonowski (250492) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846751)

They map your IP to whereabouts it should be. All they have to do is get the city right, and the rest is probably static.

Who cares? (4, Insightful)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846633)

... really. It's not like this acquisition comes from anti-competitive practices or anything (search Microsoft's history). Let's complain when they (Google) actually does something wrong instead of being reactionary and speculating about things which have yet to happen.

Historically, Google has been pretty good about privacy issues, despite the NUMEROUS areas of concern like:
- Scanning everyone's gmail
- Google Desktop's indexing of everyone's machine content
- Keeping search data indefinitely
- etc, etc.

Somehow, DOUBLECLICK is the biggest concern? Not a chance. This is media hype perpetuated by the competition crying foul. I really wish people would concern themselves with actual privacy issues. It's just advertising data, people. Fear the Google Desktop, not tracking cookies.

I'm not so worried about Google's intentions... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846637)

...as I am about long-term security. From hackers, from digruntled Googleans (what do you call Google employees, anyway?), from the Federal Gov't, from other Gov'ts who somehow are able to subpoena Google logs. I try not to wear a tin-foil hat too often, and when I do, it's usually got holes for Google, but I'm not a great fan of Double-Click's at least historically.

But is it worth suing them or breaking them up or blocking their ability to purchase the double-clicks of the world? I don't know. If you don't like what they're doing, don't use the toolbar, clear your cookies every once in a while, add a plug-in to block ads from certain hosts or IPs, and whatever else you like.

Or if you want to be an activist, start a certification where people can put your badge up on their site indicating that their system is totally Google free. No trackers, no ads, no counters, no nothing. Of course, then you could collect data about everyone who visits those google-free pages and use it for your own benefit, or sell it to Google, or...

Re:I'm not so worried about Google's intentions... (1)

BladesP9 (722608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846695)

I am puzzled, but not surprised - if that makes any sense. Most of the time I hear that Microsoft is bad for being a monopoly - but now it is somehow not a big deal for Google to be one in terms of user data. Is it only OK because it's Google and you now need to find a way to justify the love and devotion that has been poured over them for years from various sources? Or do you really believe that one company's greed is another's virtue? Sorry - I just don't get it. I'm getting very wary of Google now. Is there some other smaller upstart with a good idea worth getting behind? And if so how long until Google sues them.

Re:I'm not so worried about Google's intentions... (3, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847395)

It started off as a gut feel, but I'll be honest with you, Google is very far from being a monopoly. They are innovating--and purchasing--their way to success, and they applaud and support small businesses with good ideas. If they were a monopoly, they would have crushed YouTube with GVid, but they didn't; they paid a very good price for it.

With Microsoft, a lot of what they do stinks of control and monopoly-based thinking. Claiming to support browser standards, but breaking them such that it's more work for web-based businesses to support browsers other than the most dominant one, creating their own "PlaysForSure" music DRM standard and then breaking it for their banner music player which is supposed to supplant the iPod, donating huge amounts of money to schools in the form of certificates for Windows-only software. It's a very different culture.

Plus, if I really want to, I can block cookies, I can avoid sites with advertisements, I can not use the Google toolbar. They are not forcing me to give them my data. I don't use Google Checkout, for example. I don't like to have a blank check sitting on anyone's system. However, they've made it worthwhile for me (functionally) to use their toolbar, so I do. They've made it (financially) worthwhile for me to use their Adsense system, so I do. They've made it worthwhile (functionally) for me to use Gmail, so I do. It's easy, reliable and the price is right, and I can take my crap and go any time if I really wish to, so I use it.

The sheer fact that Google is one of the biggest companies doesn't make them the worst. A very small company can be very corrupt. Microsoft, to quote--or at least paraphrase Steve Jobs--may not be evil, but they have no class, and I choose to give them no more of my resources--informational, financial or otherwise--than I absolutely have to. But it's not because their the biggest; it's because they engage in predatory, anti-competitive behavior.

That being said, Google is a company made up of people. And people do bad things; people make mistakes. My initial point was that even if the intention isn't bad, bad things can happen. I'm not sure it's worth a lawsuit, but it is worth questioning--and was, even before the D-C purchase--whether Google is taking all necessary precautions to make sure that data is not being abused. For example, a client of mine recently emailed me his social security number. I didn't ask for it, and I didn't want it. And I deleted the message. However, it was on my Gmail account, and I'm sure they have a backup somewhere, and if some corrupt-but-efficient person were to gain unfettered access to email backups and do a search for patterns matching social security numbers, they could find them, and possibly use and sell them, and that would be a *bad* thing.

So in short, there's no love and devotion and justification going on, and Google is not yet Microsoft. G may be bigger, but M is definitely badder. Your wariness is probably founded; I just don't feel the same way... yet.

Your rhetorical suggestion about some other smaller company with a good idea is probably a good litmus test. If some little company comes along with a search algorithm that works 100 times better than Google's, and Google sues them into oblivion spuriously (i.e. without grounds, but knowing that the little guy doesn't have deep enough pockets), then I'd start to feel the same way about Google. Likewise, if they were to buy the company and bury the technology so that it never saw the light of day, I'd feel negative about Google. But so far, GOOG has been all about incorporating new ideas, using open standards, and supporting multiple platforms. So far, so good. If you want to know how I'll feel about them next week, ask me next week.

Re:I'm not so worried about Google's intentions... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846819)

Yes, I think the first major problem from Google's services won't come from a scandal in how Google use their information, but rather from an exploit. However, it could be an idea to try protect Google from themselves, because can we otherwise be sure they'll sanitize themselves and build their infrastructure in a way that databases aren't cross-ran too much?

Tautology... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846735)

"will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world"

Uh, there will always be one company with access to more information than any other company, unless all companies make all of their information available to all (never happen). Exactly what makes it bad that it's Google, and not company X or Y which has access to the most information?

Internet Privacy? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846757)

I thought all truly educated users of the internet were in agreement that if you want something private, you don't use the internet... at least, not without some big steps (major encryption with secret keys carried in person in locked briefcases, used only once, and are based on atmospheric noise).

Whether or not Google is "bad" or "good" is almost irrelevant; to some extent, you're not going to be private online. If you want to lead a truly private ... life of some sort ... get offline. People can tap your connection, too, and get your e-mail that way. Privacy is ... pretty limited online. That's why people get Ph.D.'s and huge awards in network cryptography stuff.

So... yeah, Google probably has a lot of information that most other companies don't have, and have an easier way to, mmm, snoop or whatever you might think they are going to do. But hey, it's your choice to be online, to allow cookies, etc.

Can always mask your ip, not allow any javascript or cookies or anything like that... or become a monk and live in a monastery and spend years repenting of ever supporting Google's malicious activities by using gmail.

Banning All "Number One"s? (1)

Nonsanity (531204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846765)

...will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world.

But if they weren't number one in this, then next guy would be...

They are obviously trying to say something like "they will have too MUCH access" though that would mean defining what "too much" means. They can't do that, so they go with this emotional doublespeak instead.

This sort of formless cry that the universe isn't fair is just downright sad.

I'll bet these groups are now lobbying for some sort of legislation. They can't even phrase the problem clearly and distinctly and prove it IS a problem (not that it is going to be, that it IS), yet they want to pass laws to govern it.

It's all relative... I guess (5, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846769)

Google in 1998: "Don't be evil"

Google in 2007: "Really now, what is evil? Who are we to say what evil is....?"

Re:It's all relative... I guess (1)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847407)

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement". (Impeachment of Clinton [wikipedia.org] )

Hm. (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846827)

Interesting, how can a couple of dollars and one agreement turn a company that everyone blocked, ignored, or was just being annoyed with into a company that suddenly is a serious threat to our privacy.

New Slashdot logo for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846845)

Whenever there is a Microsoft story, the logo is of Borg Gates. The logo for Google should be of Big Brother from the 1984 commercial

3 letters (2, Funny)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846857)

I'm sure the CIA will call the FTC and make this all OK. Worry not. It's double-plus good.

It's well known the CIA is woven deep into Google, and frankly if they weren't we'd have to fire the whole CIA for incompetence.

Huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846883)

Where are these organized activist groups whenever Microsoft is involved? Seems like apologists only come out.

Always at least one company on top (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846893)

"Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world,"

So the situation before was that there were two or more top companies who each had equal access to this information? Otherwise, the argument is silly since there will always be one or more companies that have access to more information about X than any other company in the world!.

what's the big deal? (1)

2fakeu (443153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847055)

for crying out loud, use noscript (https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/722 [mozilla.org] )! why should anyone care if doubleclick owns itself or is owned by google (which has yet to break my trust)? i rather see power in able hands.

Re:what's the big deal? (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847207)

Google sees you searching for websites. Doubleclick sees you visiting them. It's a Total Information Project.

notice the comments below (1, Redundant)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847077)

classic slashdot prejudices on display: google can do no wrong. kind of like microsoft can do no right. hey guess what slashbots, in the real world, *gasp* microsoft can actually get some things right, and *gasp* google's "do no evil" buzzphrase is exactly that: marketing propaganda. face it: google might have been the cool new upstart 5 years ago in 2002, but now it is just as much an entrenched bloated corporate entity just as much as whatever your favorite corporate bogeyman is. please catch your prejudices up with reality, google is just as much a corporate faceless scourge as all the rest now

Re:notice the comments below (1)

jonesarch (1089207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847277)

I don't think it's a case of google can do no wrong. Google was the only search engine that didn't roll over and play dead to gov't subpoenas that overreached. It also has a pretty good record (no one's perfect). What are you afraid of? That ads might be more pertinent to things you care about? If Google can reign in doubleclick's ads and merge them with the non-graphical Google ad bar I'd be one happy camper.

I don't see the big deal (2)

dbmasters (796248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847195)

Who cares who owns it, besides, as a pretty successful AdSense publisher, I am glad the possibility of a bigger footprint of what I can advertise and at what kind of revenues...Since there is currently no automated, contextually sensitive advertising system that even comes close to AdSense.

It's a hoax (1, Funny)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847239)

Hmm.

"Electronic Privacy Information Center"

Your search - "Electronic Privacy Information Center" - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:
  • Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
  • Try different keywords.
  • Try more general keywords.


"Center for Digital Democracy"

Your search - "Center for Digital Democracy" - did not match any documents.

"US Public Interest Research Group"

Your search - "US Public Interest Research Group" - did not match any documents.

Since Google says these so-called 'activist groups' don't exist, this must be a hoax! All hail the all-seeing, all-knowing Google!

Google Doing Evil? (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847307)

So far all they've done is purchase a large ad company. Nothing really new for Google, they're already very heavily into the online ad market.

Of course, this does give them greater *potential* to do evil .... But considering their past history, previously stated goals (do no evil) and past history of pretty much adhering to said goals I for one would be willing to wait and see exactly what they do with this.

On the flipside - who's whining about this acquisition? .... Microsoft has been leading a bunch of "the competition" and collectively they've been very vocal. Perhaps this is merely sour-grapes that their bid was not sufficient?

This most recent outcry is nothing more than media hype seeking and emotion saturated hand-wringing ....Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world Seriously folks , there's always going to be some company with more access than the others - nothing has changed.

Move along, move along folks.
Nothing to see here, move along please.

One Company... (1)

xwipeoutx (964832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847311)

will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world
Won't there always be one company with access to more information about the internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world?

Now you can turn yourself in (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847333)

Just saw this in the SMH:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/search-service-trac ks-your-online-habits/2007/04/23/1177180549441.htm l [smh.com.au]

"The new feature, called {Google} Web History, allows users to look back in time at the websites they have browsed and search them for specific lines of text." and "Australian Privacy Foundation chair Roger Clarke said of the new feature: "Every URL that you ever go to at any time is being sifted through at Google and thrown into their archives to help them build a profile about you forever.""

This isn't evil in itself, but it's certainly open to abuse. Yahoo said they were complying with the laws of China when they turned those dissidents in. Google have the potential to do that, and now with doubleclick, even more. As Scott McNeally snarled: "You have no privacy. Get over it!"

Google is too big, but what is the alternative? (1)

Robowally (649265) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847365)

Google is too big and potentially too dangerous imo, but what is the alternative? I guess they have better access to my personal info that the FBI does. I want out but what are the other options?

Who'd you rather? (1)

Grinin (1050028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847367)

I would much prefer Google to know about all of my internet activities than Microsoft. I'm glad Microsoft is pissed off that they couldn't afford such a buy out. Hopefully Google is able to turn this into a more positive note, not that it really has to with that kind of cash flow. Either way, Microsoft would buy DoubleClick and use it for evil, while Google I truly think is using it to make their AdSense / AdWords program that much better. Plus, didn't google just announce it will not store your personal data for longer than 12 months? Thats better than anybody else out there I'm sure.

Google... I know you read these, so... I still love you!

Defend yourself against Doubleclick (2, Informative)

TheInvisiblePinkUnic (1090761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847399)

Use firefox [mozilla.com] + ad block plus [mozilla.org] and filter doubleclick out with *.doubleclick.net/*
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