Google “aims to improve online privacy”

Google has told US Senate lawmakers that it is pursuing new technologies to protect the privacy of internet users as it seeks to acquire advertising company DoubleClick.

Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, testified that the company was looking at the internet display advertising business with a “fresh eye and evaluating whether changes can be made to innovate on user privacy in this space.”

Critics say Google’s $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, an advertising tools supplier, may give the company too much power over online advertising. As a general matter, Drummond also sought to address antitrust concerns about the deal, describing it as pro-competitive.

Drummond sought to assure the lawmakers that Google was exploring new privacy protection technologies. He cited as an example a possible new technology that Google called “crumbled cookie” in which information about a user would not be connected to a single cookie, but distributed over several.

Google was also exploring better ways of providing notice within advertisements to identify who was responsible for them, Drummond said. “We have consulted with numerous privacy, consumer and industry groups in developing these ideas and have endeavoured to be responsive to their concerns,” he said in written testimony for a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

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