Lawmaker Accuses Google Of Privacy 'Bait-And-Switch'

Google has engaged in a “bait-and-switch” by combining DoubleClick's pseudonymous data about users with personally identifiable information, Rep. Val Demings (D-Florida) told Google CEO Sundar Pichai at a Congressional subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Demings -- seen as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden -- made the statement at a highly anticipated antitrust hearing focused on large Silicon Valley companies.

She was referring specifically to Google's 2016 controversial decision to merge some users' pseudonymous web-browsing activity with their personally identifiable data.

Google rolled out the change in policy in June of 2016.

At the time, the company asked users to opt in to the new policy, and told users that doing so would result in personalized ads.



But in 2007 -- when Google was seeking regulatory approval for its purchase of DoubleClick -- DoubleClick said its data about web users who view ads wouldn't be available to Google, because the data belonged to DoubleClick clients.

Demings asked Pichai about the “absolutely staggering” reversal from its 2007 position.

“What changed between 2007 and 2016 is that Google gained enormous market power,” she said in an exchange with Pichai.

“I am concerned that Google’s bait-and-switch with DoubleClick is part of a pattern of surveilling Americans and users have no choice but to surrender,” she added.

Google's 2016 privacy changes are also at the center of a new complaint brought Monday against the company by regulators in Australia.

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