Google is shrugging off the $1 billion "massive copyright infringement" Viacom lawsuit against YouTube.
Will Google be as cavalier if antitrust and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) legal initiatives against the announced DoubleClick acquisition proceed as well?
Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security and accuracy of the personal data that it collects. At this time, there is simply no consumer privacy issue more pressing for the commission to consider than Google's plan to combine the search histories and Web site visit records of Internet users.
So says 1) the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), 2) the Center for Digital Democracy and 3) U.S. Public Interest Research Group, according to a allegations in a complaint filed by the parties with the FTC Friday, one week after Google disclosed its agreement to purchase DoubleClick.
The three organizations filed a "Complaint and Request for Injunction, Request for Investigation, and For Other Relief," before the FTC in the Matter of "Google, Inc. and DoubleClick, Inc."
Microsoft didn't need a week to ponder the anti-competitive (to Microsoft) implications of a Google-DoubleClick search and banner bonazana for Google's shareholders.
While Microsoft's anti-Google legal threats may readily be discounted as pure competitive positioning, or "sour grapes" for losing out to Google in the DoubleClcik bidding war, the EPIC privacy initiative is a whole nother ball of Googley wax.
After all, EPIC is a "public interest research center" established to "focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values."
Who can argue with that? Googlers may even have a hard time discounting such a cause. After all, key Googler Vinton G. Cerf is a proud member of the EPIC Advisory Board, according to the EPIC Website at least.
Who knows if Cerf, "widely known as 'Father of the Internet'," still flys the EPIC flag, however, now that he is part of Eric Schmidt's team as "Vice President & Chief Internet Evangelist."
Why not? The EPIC Website Advisory Board directory may be a tad outdated: Cerf is declared a member, but his work address is noted as WorldCom, not the Googleplex!
Google, in fact, has much to worry about on the privacy and security front, as I have been reporting and analyzing in depth, since the Google DoubleClick announcement ten days ago: