WASHINGTON – Google Inc. (GOOG), the world's Web search leader, told U.S. Senate lawmakers on Thursday the company is pursuing new technologies to protect the privacy of Internet users as it seeks to acquire advertising company DoubleClick Inc.
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.
Google stores mounds of data on Internet-surfing habits of users and uses the information to make money by selling advertisements.
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 an Internet user would not be connected to a single piece of identifying code, known as a cookie.
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 endeavored to be responsive to their concerns," he said in written testimony for a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.