DoubleClick, when purchased, was a completely separate database and was kept separate from the data Google has collected from Gmail and other accounts. This summer when Google got rid of the last line in the privacy statement it replaced it with a new line that states browsing habits from accounts through DoubleClick “may be” combined with data from Google.
So, what does that mean for Google users? Not much will change. According to ProPublica, the only notable change will be that the DoubleClick ads that appear on your browser currently may be customized. This means that you may see your name or other information Google knows about you on the advertisements on the side of the page. It also opens up the information Google is able to gather from you to produce ads. Advertisements may be able to be constructed of emails, websites they visit and the searches they perform.
Connecting data from web browsing habits to someone’s personal information has been a controversial topic for years. In 2000 the online advertising industry formed the Network Advertising Initiative. This initiative served to outline ethical codes for online advertising. This promised to provide consumers a notice when their data was collected for ads and the option to opt out of allowing your data to be collected.
In 2012, Google changed the policy to allow some of your search information to be used. When changes were made four years ago it simply allowed Google to share data between different Google services (Gmail, search, etc.). It kept everything from double click separate. However, now people may be personally identified by the advertisements on the page in front of them.
Google is Changing Advertising
Google being the last huge website to hold the line on privacy where advertising is concerned was a pretty big deal as the company holds the largest internet database.
Paul Ohm, a professor of Privacy and Technology, said, “The fact that DoubleClick data wasn’t being regularly connected to personally identifiable information was a really significant last stand. It was a border wall between being watched everywhere and maintaining a tiny semblance of privacy,” Ohm said. “That wall has just fallen.”
New features outlined in the new policy didn’t receive much attention at the time. In all reality, it gives the company a different type of control over the type of ads you see around the internet.