On June 7th the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about the growing privacy concerns related to the planned Google and DoubleClick merger. According to the article a coalition of privacy groups have requested that federal regulators “prohibit the merged companies from compiling detailed dossiers about users’ online behavior.”
It would be a rare case for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to consider privacy implications when ruling on the merger (since they usually deal with fair trade concerns) but this precedent may be worthwhile due to the considerable personal dossiers expected to be combined by the two companies.
How Big is Too Big?
One question is ever present in my mind when considering Google’s continued acquisitions spree - at what threshold does a company get so big that government involvements (i.e. regulation) is unavoidable? I don’t like the idea of any part of the Internet being regulated but if Google keeps this growth up, at some point it will call this unfortunate reality upon itself. For all I know Google’s immense growth may provide the various governments with exactly the excuse they need to get involved and muddle it all up in bureaucracy. Am I being alarmist? Perhaps, but it really doesn’t seem all that far-fetched to me.
Here is my favorite Google article from Business Week which I highly recommend everyone read: “Is Google Too Powerful?” (released in April, 2007)