Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The CIA/MAFIA's DoubleClick has its Eye on Google and a Privacy Invasion of the EU

What is DoubleClick? The parent company is JMI - I explained the CIA/Mafia connections (that I know about) in connection with the Lexington Comair crash, in part, although for a more complete picture of related business holdings and intelligence/Mafia ties (esp. the material on John Moores and Hellman & Friedman, both of which trace to Alex Brown, the CIA, Mafia and that wretched Hunt Family of Texas), gather up the entire "GPS Factor" section of the Comair Crash report, which dredges up a number of offensive corporate/espionage scandals:

Excerpt from "The Lexington Comair Crash (Part 16):

... DoubleClick is the most innocuous name listed among JMI holdings. It's a, frankly, stupid name for a software company, shows no imagination at all. Most likely it has no connection to CIA surveillance, so you give it a shot ...

A simple search for "DoubleClick and surveillance" (thought to be a sure washout, but come to learn they're in the business of "key spyware") produced - the very first listing - a fascinating set of letters. An excerpt from one of those letters:

Mr Kevin Ryan 
DoubleClick Inc. 

Dear Sir 

In a press release issued today, your Chief Privacy Officer made the following statement: "DoubleClick is committed to executing its business in the most open manner possible." This claim is more suited to a Chief Propaganda Officer than a Chief Privacy Officer.

I have repeatedly asked DoubleClick to show the 88 million Americans what is kept in DoubleClick's Abacus Direct database about them, and I have met with repeated refusal. How could keeping billions of records in secret electronic dossiers constitute executing business in "the most open manner possible?" This flagrant boasting about what is manifestly untrue is simply one of the worst examples of public relations pabulum I have ever seen outside the tobacco industry.

The press release uses the phrase "fair information practices," but DoubleClick's own practices are nonconsensual, opaque and grossly unfair....

On March 29 the Wall Street Journal reported that DoubleClick commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC to conduct a security audit of its computer systems.'' In the name of openness, I call on you to make that audit report public immediately....

Jason Catlett
Junkbusters Corp.

DoubleClick is considered such a menace by the Denver-based Privacy Foundation that it listed the merger with Abacus among the top ten most important stories of the year 2000:

"The merger of database marketer Abacus Direct with online ad company DoubleClick hit front pages and sparked a federal investigation in January 2000 when it was revealed that the company had compiled profiles of 100,000 online users – without their knowledge – and intended to sell them. The resulting outcry stymied the plan, which was shelved later in the year as DoubleClick and combative chairman Kevin O'Connor endured the steep decline among Internet ad stocks. In the press and in the public square, the name "DoubleClick" became synonymous with Internet privacy breaches. ... "112

In 2002, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a series of class action lawsuits "against DoubleClick for violation of privacy relating to the company's cookie tracking practices."113 In fact, a number of organizations submitted complaints, including the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Global Internet Liberty Campaign calculates that DoubleClick "may have tracked 90 million U.S. households."114

Isn't that most of the households within American borders?

Suffice it to say, John Moores' JMI Equity does have some interest in surveillance technology – a possible national security concern given his ties to LA COSA NOSTRA?
EU consumers' group says Google's DoubleClick takeover could hurt privacy rights

AP Business Writer

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Europe's major consumer group BEUC said Wednesday that it feared Internet search engine Google Inc.'s takeover of online ad tracker DoubleClick Inc. would damage European Union privacy rights and limit consumers' choice of Web content.

Their plea to EU regulators comes after U.S. consumer privacy advocacy groups asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to look at how the two companies, when combined, would have access to an unprecedented amount of data on consumers' Web usage and Internet search habits.

Cornelia Kutterer, BEUC's senior legal adviser, said the association had asked the European Commission and other European authorities to look into privacy concerns — even though the two companies have not yet requested EU approval for the US$3.1 billion (euro2.29 billion) deal.

"They have so far complementary databases with private data. If they merge them, this could lead to unmatched databases of profiles," Kutterer told the AP. "If they can combine them, this could lead to a violation of user privacy rights."

In a letter to data privacy and consumer rights regulators, BEUC said the new company would have and could exploit enormous amounts of personal information about users as they click on Web pages and applications.

"Never before has one single company had the market and technological power to collect and exploit so much information about what a user does on the Internet," it said. "The unprecedented and unmatched databases of user profiles ... appear also to be in clear violation of users' privacy rights."

The world's largest Internet search engine relies on its cookies and user logs to compile information of the search terms entered into specific Web browsers as well as other potentially sensitive online information. The company says the data help its search engine better understand its users so it can deliver more relevant results and advertisements.

Google's privacy policies are already being looked at by an EU panel of national data protection officers to see if it stores search information for too long. Trying to soothe EU concerns, the company has offered to cut the time it retains data on user searches from the current 24 months to 18 months, saying this was going further than most other search engines.

Google had no immediate response to BEUC's concerns but the company has said previously that the takeover "poses no risk to competition and should be approved."

Addressing the U.S. antitrust review, it said in May that protecting user privacy and making people aware of its privacy policies was a key part of building trust with users, advertisers and publishers and developing its business.

New York-based DoubleClick helps its customers place and track online advertising, including search ads, which Google — more than its nearest search competitors Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. — has turned into an extremely lucrative business.

BEUC said that people who agreed to give their details to DoubleClick could not have imagined this would be transferred to Google — and this would be worse for the many consumers who are unaware that the companies build up profiles about users.

It also raised fears that Google and DoubleClick could monopolize online advertising, drawing a comparison with the EU's antitrust case against Microsoft.

"We fear that Google will vertically leverage its keyword search dominance with DoubleClick's leadership in online banner/video display advertising, and with its Google-YouTube dominance in video search," it said. "Consumers would have no real ability to choose services other than those served by Google or to simply opt out of sharing personal data with Google."

Google already has a 90 percent share of the German search market, with the same in Spain and slightly less in France and Britain, it said.

"This market power could have a negative impact on the diversity of content available on online," the letter said, claiming a Web site would have to be part of the Google network to be commercially viable.

DoubleClick had been the target of a bidding war between Microsoft and Google. Though Google commands the bulk of the online advertising search market, the addition of DoubleClick's technology and client network would further its efforts to branch out beyond its core ad offerings.