Google's proposed buyout of DoubleClick is at the margins of a conflict of interest claim by two non-profit privacy groups who say that a top U.S. antitrust regulator has links to the law firm representing DoubleClick before the Federal Trade Commission.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy called for Deborah Platt Majoras, the FTC chairwoman to remove herself from the agency's review of the $3.1 billion Google bid to buy online ad agency Doubleclick.
The chairwoman is married to John M. Majoras, a partner at law firm Jones Day whose specialty is antitrust. The Jones Day website carried a statement declaring that it is representing DoubleClick.
Jones Day is advising DoubleClick Inc., the digital marketing technology provider, on the international and U.S. antitrust and competition law aspects of its planned $3.1 billion acquisition by Google Inc, the website stated on Thursday. It is no longer available on the web but is available as a cached file on the Google search engine.
Both privacy groups referred to the website posting in their petition to the FTC for Majoras' removal.
An FTC spokeswoman says the Chairwoman is reviewing the petition with an ethics officer, according to the Associated Press. Jones Day is only representing DoubleClick in Europe she added.
Both groups â€“ which have previously opposed the acquisition as a threat to privacy because of the amount of data the companies have at their disposal - want documents released identifying the relationship between Doubleclick and Jones Day.