Germany state privacy commissioner warns about unique threats with Google/Doubleclick

It’s so telling that Google keeps trying to change the subject, suggesting that concerns about privacy and its proposed takeover of Doubleclick should be confined to a larger discussion focused on the online marketing industry as a whole. Google should stop trying to shift the debate, and forthrightly address the unique issues. Yes, we need a discussion–and a national, effective privacy policy for online communications. But the Google planned acquisition of Doubleclick raises unique concerns. That’s why this press report about the letter sent by a German state data protection commissioner is important. They get it. Here’s an excerpt from an English-language news report, that includes link to the letter sent to the European Commissioner for Competition: “The Data Protection Commissioner of the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein Thilo Weichert has expressed grave reservations about Google’s acquisition of the advertising marketing company DoubleClick. “At present we have to assume that in the event of a takeover of DoubleClick the databases of that company will be integrated into those of Google, with the result that fundamental provisions of the European Data Protection Directive will be violated,” the head of the Independent State Center for Data Protection of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein (ULD) in Kiel writes in a letter addressed to Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition. The merger of the two Internet companies “would thus lead to a massive violation of data privacy rights” of consumers in the European Union… The coming together of Google and DoubleClick would thus as a consequence lead to even more detailed analyses of personal data and make the creation of user profiles possible. “Such an approach contradicts fundamental data privacy principles of the European Union: limited specific use, transparency, the right to object, the protection of sensitive data and the right to having data deleted,” the head of the ULD observed.”

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