When two gigantic beasts collide, expect aftershocks. The European Parliament was thrown into chaos on Monday when media giant Google castigated the EU body for urging rival companies to intervene in the personal data handling regulatory process following the search engine’s takeover of its former competitor DoubleClick.
Sensitive personal information belonging to EU citizens was at the heart of the battle that has sparked the legal repartee between the two camps. The EU contends that subscribers and former users of DoubleClick are at risk of having their private information revealed or disclosed to other parties for the sake of ads to be displayed. Google fought back, citing a win in the United States. Spokesperson and Global Privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said that the case was a misapplication of a “simple privacy case into a competition law review”.
EU parliamentarians are divided on the issue. Sophie Intveld from the Netherlands contends that such information gives the company a competitive edge. Trade Commissioner Pamela Harbour disagrees and cites that: “for the consumerâ€¦ privacy is at stake.” Fleischer argues that Google is not building a permanent dossier based on their users’ needs; rather, they are filtering words searched to indicate which ads are to be promoted.
In the mean time, the world watches and waits the outcome of something that can be as fundamental as the Microsoft legal wars were in the U.S and Europe!