As we consider the various data sets Google now has, in the light of its expansion via the Doubleclick acquisition, it’s useful to reflect on a statement from its May 10, 2007 10 Q filing. The key excerpt, in our opinion, is its discussion on “privacy concerns” and its business (my bold): “In addition, as nearly all of our products and services are web based, the amount of data we store for our users on our servers (including personal information) has been increasing.”
As increasingly with Google, more is unsaid about what the real issues are than stated candidly. Here’s the complete section from the SEC filing regarding privacy: “Privacy concerns relating to our technology could damage our reputation and deter current and potential users from using our products and services.
From time to time, concerns have been expressed about whether our products and services compromise the privacy of users and others. Concerns about our practices with regard to the collection, use, disclosure or security of personal information or other privacy-related matters, even if unfounded, could damage our reputation and operating results. While we strive to comply with all applicable data protection laws and regulations, as well as our own posted privacy policies, any failure or perceived failure to comply may result in proceedings or actions against us by government entities or others, which could potentially have an adverse affect on our business.
In addition, as nearly all of our products and services are web based, the amount of data we store for our users on our servers (including personal information) has been increasing. Any systems failure or compromise of our security that results in the release of our usersâ€™ data could seriously limit the adoption of our products and services as well as harm our reputation and brand and, therefore, our business. We may also need to expend significant resources to protect against security breaches. The risk that these types of events could seriously harm our business is likely to increase as we expand the number of web based products and services we offer as well as increase the number of countries where we operate.
A large number of legislative proposals pending before the United States Congress, various state legislative bodies and foreign governments concern data protection. In addition, the interpretation and application of data protection laws in Europe and elsewhere are still uncertain and in flux. It is possible that these laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our data practices. If so, in addition to the possibility of fines, this could result in an order requiring that we change our data practices, which could have a material effect on our business. Complying with these various laws could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a manner adverse to our business. ”
GOOGLE INC. (GOOG) 10-Q/A filed 5/10/2007