Consumer Groups Want FTC to Block Google, AdMob Deal

Lora Bentley

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission asked Google for more details on its proposed acquisition of mobile advertising company AdMob. Predictably, the agency is concerned that the acquisition will narrow competition in the mobile advertising space and give the already dominant Google even more power and control.

 

Monday, PCWorld.com reported that Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Digital Democracy are also concerned about the deal, but for slightly different reasons. In addition to the antitrust issues that the FTC is already looking into, the groups say the deal would raise privacy issues for consumers. According to the letter:

Both AdMob and Google gather tremendous amounts of data about consumers' online behavior, including in the key mobile sector...U.S. consumers currently do not have meaningful safeguards protecting their privacy online, including with behavioral targeting. This is particularly true of the mobile Web, where there are no meaningful federal policies to effectively protect privacy.

 

Since the FTC is already contemplating online privacy regulation -- particularly with behavioral advertising in mind -- it makes sense that behavioral advertising via mobile devices should be included in that mix. The question now is whether the agency will block this acquisition until such regulations are in place, or if the deal will be approved.

 

Either way the decision may be awhile in coming.



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