Google's $3.1 billion buyout of DoubleClick may have been given the green light by US authorities in December, but European Union officials, it seems, aren't going to give it the go-ahead quite so easily.

The EU is currently looking at the anti-trust or competitions implications of the merger, but Google has also been at the centre of heated arguments on the handling of users' personal information.

The discussion took place as part of a European Parliament hearing to consider the role of the internet in impinging on the privacy of citizens.

And the Google/DoubleClick deal was raised as both US and European privacy advocates and European parliamentarians questioned its impact on European citizens' online privacy, reports Reuters.

But the discussion prompted a furious response from the legal team representing Google.

Google's lawyer, Peter Fleischer, attacked, accusing the EU of pettiness. He said: "People (are) trying to take a privacy case and shoehorn it into a competition law review ... I can understand that people continue to peddle this theory in Europe after having lost in the United States".

But Sophie van der Veld, the Dutch parliamentarian who sought the hearing, countered: "The reason you want to have the data is because it gives you a competitive advantage. It is business. I don't think they can be completely disconnected. And we should discuss that side of things too".

She called information a competitive factor and declared: "Having that much information is market power".

Fleischer responded by saying that Google simply wanted to get into the banner advertising business.

To calm concerns about the personal information that Google will have access to, he said Google did not build dossiers on individuals through searches, instead using the words of each search to decide what ads to display with it.

He added that contractual limits would prevent Google from using DoubleClick information from individuals.

Stavros Lambrinidis of Greece, who chaired the meeting, asked whether Google turned information over to government authorities, and Reuters reports that Fleisher said that if authorities go "through a valid legal process we will respond to it".

The European Commission had said it will not take privacy into consideration when considering this deal but European parliamentarians seem keen to raise it.

Reuters reports, however, in Google's favour, that the EC has not turned down any all-US deal, which has been approved by US authorities in the past 6 years.

The EC and the Federal Trade Commission in the US are to continue to work together to investigate the acquisition and the EU is expected to come to a decision by April.