The Federal Trade Commission will be opening a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google's planned purchase of DoubleClick, according to a story in today's New York Times.
Interestingly, among those filing a request for an FTC investigation were the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy and the United States Public Interest Group, citing privacy rather than antitrust concerns. Says the Times:
In the complaint, the groups noted that Google collects the search histories of its users, while DoubleClick tracks what Web sites people visit. The merger, according to their complaint, would "give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world."
This complaint is unlikely to impress the FTC, as their mandate is ensuring fair competition, rather than protecting privacy rights. More predictably, on the antitrust front, businesses calling for the FTC review include Microsoft, apparently unsated by its own recent acquisition of aQuantive.