A report in the Financial Times that Alibaba might take over Yahoo! has raised privacy fears. Jack Ma’s (Alibaba founder & former Google employee) recent comment about the prospect that Alibaba was interested in Yahoo! set off privacy group alarms as reported by the Financial Times:
"Lawmakers should oppose a deal where the data of Americans come under the control of a foreign company with links to the Chinese government,” said Jeff Chester, head of the Center for Digital Democracy. “Instead of stealthfully spying on Google users, which Chinese officials have been alleged to have done, an Alibaba takeover of Yahoo would sanction the surveillance of millions of Americans."
Ironically Yahoo! uses Microsoft’s Bing these days for it search engine….so this privacy concern is much larger than it seems on the surface. As well Alibaba is the most popular search engine in China, and with Google’s departure it seems that Alibaba is as strong as ever notwithstanding that Bing has entered the Chinese search engine market.
This will be of great interest to follow for the search engine wars and privacy concerns!