NEW YORK -- The New York State Consumer Protection Board (CPB) wants to delay the proposed merger of the Internet search engine, Google, with the online advertising firm, DoubleClick, until Google discloses how it will allow millions of Internet users to protect their privacy.
In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the CPB is asking the FTC to halt the merger until questions are answered about how Google tracks the habits of millions of Internet users. The CPB also wants to know what will happen once the merger allows Google to collect even more information.
"People may not realize it, but Google already collects and retains an enormous amount of personal data about the specific websites and advertisements that are visited by millions of people," said Mindy Bockstein Chairperson and Executive Director of the CPB. The CPB is a New York State agency and part of Gov. Eliot Spitzer's administration.
The personal profiles now stored in Google's massive database could be merged with the information now being collected by DoubleClick, a company that keeps track of people who look at the online advertisements. By merging, Google would gather even more information, creating more detailed profiles about millions of people and their use of the Internet.
"If this information is misused or falls into the wrong hands, this data collection could seriously harm the privacy rights of consumers," said Chairperson Bockstein.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)