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WASHINGTON - A consumer group asked the Federal Trade Commission on Friday to investigate and block Google Inc.'s proposed $3.1 billion purchase of online advertising firm DoubleClick Inc. unless the companies don't improve consumer privacy protections.
The complaint, filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), alleges that Google and New York-based DoubleClick collect exhaustive personal information on consumers using the Internet but don't adequately protect the privacy of that information.
Google's acquisition of privately held DoubleClick ''will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world,'' the complaint from the Washington-based group said. ''There is simply no consumer privacy issue more pressing for the Commission to consider than Google's plan to combine the search histories and Web site visit records of Internet users.''
The complaint cites published reports that claim Google plans to combine its data with DoubleClick's and can track an individual's Internet searches and Web site visits.
DoubleClick said Google would not have access to the data it collects on consumers who view its online ads.
That data belongs to clients, DoubleClick said Friday in a prepared statement.
EPIC's complaint said that each Google user has a unique, trackable Internet ''address'' and that Google keeps a record of user searches.