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Privacy groups vow to fight Microsoft-Yahoo deal
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Written by Daniel   
Friday, 01 February 2008 12:53
 CDD and EPIC say the acquisition would raise serious privacy concerns, but the DOJ and FTC may have little grounds to oppose a Microsoft-Yahoo merger

By Grant Gross, IDG News Service
February 01, 2008
InfoWorld

Privacy groups are promising a fight before U.S. regulatory agencies if Microsoft's offer to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion is accepted, and the deal could face significant hurdles in Europe as well.Microsoft announced that it sent an offer to Yahoo's board of directors on Thursday, going public with the news Friday morning. Immediately, the executive directors of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said the acquisition would raise serious privacy concerns.

CDD will press the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and Congress to "scrutinize this deal and impose the needed safeguards for it -- and the industry," said Jeffrey Chester, CDD's executive director. CDD and EPIC tried to stop Google's proposed acquisition of online ad service DoubleClick on privacy grounds before the FTC last year, but the FTC approved the deal in December.

The Microsoft-Yahoo deal, if consummated, would "create a powerful interactive Internet duopoly in online media," Chester said. "Google and Microsoft will have inordinate power to shape the online communications marketplace, including journalism, entertainment and advertising. There are consequences to democratic societies everywhere, as two digital gatekeepers are likely to control how the Internet and other interactive media evolve."

The proposed deal also underscores a need for new laws or regulations that protect consumer data, Chester added. "In an era when individuals are increasingly conducting their personal, social and political lives online, the corporations that control the digital experience will have a far-reaching influence over every aspect of society," he said. "Consumers will be more vulnerable to having their personal information become the property of the GoogleClick's and Microhoo's." [More...]   [Comments...]
 

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