DoubleClick issues statement on concerns raised with FTC

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DoubleClick Inc. recently released a statement countering suggestions that Google's intention to acquire it would be a potential threat to consumer privacy.

This comes on the heels of a joint complaint filed by three public-interest groups to the Federal Trade Commission. The complaint calls for an investigation into the potential privacy threat and suggests that data collected by DoubleClick's online display advertising technology could be used by Google or combined with information owned by Google.

"Information collected by DoubleClick DART ad serving technology belongs to DoubleClick's clients and not to DoubleClick," the statement said. "Any and all information collected by DoubleClick is, and will remain, the property of the company's clients. Ownership rights, like the other terms of DoubleClick's client contracts, will be unaffected by any acquisition.

"Further, Google would not be able to match its search data to the data collected by DoubleClick, as DoubleClick does not have the right to use its clients' data for such purposes," the statement said.

The company also said that by contract, it has only the limited rights to use data for its aggregate reporting and to disclose data, if so required, to government authorities.

In their April 20 filing, t he Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups are asking the FTC to stop the merger until the it investigates Google's data collection and storage practices. The filing orders DoubleClick to sweep out its data storehouse and requires the search giant to offer a public plan for safeguarding consumer privacy.

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