backtop


Print 35 comment(s) - last by Oregonian2.. on May 29 at 3:18 PM

The search company may be breaking European law by keeping search records too long

The European Union's data protection watchdog, known as the Article 29 Working Group, has issued a letter warning Google that its data retention policies may be in violation of EU laws.

The BBC reports that EU data protection commissioners who serve on the Article 29 panel are concerned about the search giant's practice of keeping personal search records for two years.

Google tracks and stores all queries, associating search terms and history with individual users based on their unique IP address. While the company has stated that the records are used to monitor and improve its search-related services, critics charge that the data could be used to profile users and pry into their personal lives.

The EU effort to reign in Google's privacy policies has the backing of the Union's Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini, who has affirmed that he "considers those questions raised by the letter to be appropriate and legitimate," according to an EU spokesman.

A Google spokeswoman confirmed that the EU privacy group is concerned about the company "keeping information about people's search for a definite period of time ranging from 18 to 24 months." She told the BBC that Google plans to address the EU complaints prior to the data protection panel's next meeting in late June.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

If everyone jumps off a bridge
By MaK2000 on 5/26/2007 1:48:27 PM , Rating: 1
Every large company has practices like these. I don't see the big deal as long as they have security measure to make sure the information stays internal. Next thing the civil rights groups in the US will be all over this too.




RE: If everyone jumps off a bridge
By jak3676 on 5/26/2007 1:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
I think the problem is that not matter how good your policy is - eventually this type of information makes its way into the public. It often makes its way into the public domain illegally, but I'd still rather it not be kept in the first place. Google clearly has a need to keep search history for a variety of reasons, but can't tehy do it without using a uniqly identifiable marker (IP address). To be a devil's advocate to my own point, I suppose most of us are not on a static, public IP anyway so this may be irrelavant.


RE: If everyone jumps off a bridge
By Hare on 5/26/2007 2:06:23 PM , Rating: 5
Google also uses cookies so the IP address is not the only identifier. And those cookies don't expire in a day or two...

Imo, Google is an outstanding company and I use their services a lot but I'm not too comfortable with their data mining.


RE: If everyone jumps off a bridge
By Snuffalufagus on 5/26/2007 7:02:24 PM , Rating: 3
I used to be a huge fan of Google but now I'm a little weary of their practices and have started to avoid using any Google services as much as possible. I just don't trust them any longer (or any company that wants to accrue as much information on their users as they do). I do use the search engine for work as it does still seems to be the most efficient but I'm really hoping one of the competitors will eventually get their searches figured out so there's an alternative to go to.


RE: If everyone jumps off a bridge
By TomZ on 5/26/2007 9:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think you guys are a bit on the paranoid side. Unless you're doing something illegal, I hardly think that any information that google has, even if used in the worst possible way, could cause you any harm. The worst thing that could happen is that you are served up with more targeted ads. Some would argue that is actually a benefit to you, compared with non-targeted ads.


RE: If everyone jumps off a bridge
By P4blo on 5/26/2007 9:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
Err you might be surprised just how many people do illegal things on the net while barely thinking about it.

The U.S. government has already tried to get its paws on Google's data. How long before they get their way and the men in suits come with search warrants because a machine from your IP has been searching for music or film torrents? I'm sure Google realises as soon as they get infiltrated by the Government, their popularity is going to take a huge and rapid nose dive though. Maybe that will keep intruders at bay, the sheer damage it would do to a big search company. Although it would be funny to see Google's stocks suddenly turn to mush, dot com boom/bust style. I guess they've probably made safer ground by now though.

Perhaps if Google didn't store so long term it would be a less juicy target for those who seek to snoop!


RE: If everyone jumps off a bridge
By TomZ on 5/26/2007 10:06:33 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Err you might be surprised just how many people do illegal things on the net while barely thinking about it.

Are you suggesting that people unknowingly break laws when they use the Internet? That's kind of a stretch... Common sense dictates 95% of what people need to know about the law; people know when they are doing something wrong.


By Christopher1 on 5/27/2007 7:05:03 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, that isn't always true, and someone can violate the laws by accident. Such as if you accidentally go to CP sites, I know that people say "That's impossible!" but I have done it quite a few times in the past 7 years while searching for adult pornography.

If I added up ALL the times I have done that..... it would probably be in the 1000-zone right now.

It just hard to avoid some illegal things, and some things that aren't illegal like lolicon porn which I also look at, the government will STILL try to get you in trouble if you are looking at it because no one has challenged the blatently illegal laws yet.


RE: If everyone jumps off a bridge
By Snuffalufagus on 5/26/2007 11:52:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's not really being paranoid, it's more that I just don't really condone the practice and when at all possible I'll choose not to support such a company. Granted, if I knew exactally what data points they are collecting, or if it was anonymous data collected (not tracked on IP), then I wouldn't mind so much. Preferably they would make it a choice for the users, if they elect to participate then they can collect data, if not then they don't.


By Christopher1 on 5/27/2007 7:11:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well, they have it in their privacy practices that they tell you absolutely everything that they collect, however I am not quite sure that the privacy policies that they have are totally honest about everything that they collect.

That's why I have installed CustomizeGoogle on Firefox, and only use Google on Firefox.


By Oregonian2 on 5/29/2007 3:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
And that alternative won't be doing the same things for the same reasons?


The EU talking about privacy?
By Howard on 5/26/2007 4:43:35 PM , Rating: 3
Pot, meet kettle




RE: The EU talking about privacy?
By Hare on 5/26/2007 5:38:43 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get it and I live in the EU... Care to elaborate?


RE: The EU talking about privacy?
By osalcido on 5/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: The EU talking about privacy?
By osalcido on 5/26/2007 8:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
Just replace "EU" with "MS" "Yahoo" "US Government" and you too can generate a googlefanboy copout


RE: The EU talking about privacy?
By AstroCreep on 5/26/2007 9:53:36 PM , Rating: 3
Probably because of the weird, obtrusive techniques that are used in European countries; for example that there is one state-operated CCTV for every 12 people in Britain (http://www.newstatesman.com/200610020022), and Sweden admitting to having tapped citizens' phones for decades before the US "Wire-tapping Scandal" (http://www.thelocal.se/6645/20070309/).

I'm not the original poster, just a hunch.


RE: The EU talking about privacy?
By Apoxie on 5/27/2007 1:59:24 AM , Rating: 3
Also ISP's are enforced to keep detailed logs of every connection you make by the government. But these data are only available to law enforcement or available tru court orders.

So you cant really compare that to google, since google can use their data for anything they like.

So its a really bad example.


By Oregonian2 on 5/29/2007 3:18:32 PM , Rating: 2
Those ISP's can't go through their own data for any purpose they feel like?


Now its a warning then a fine
By crystal clear on 5/26/2007 10:21:26 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
the Article 29 Working Group, has issued a letter warning Google that its data retention policies may be in violation of EU laws


The E.U. itself should put its own house in order before they issue warning to others-Read below

quote:
However, in March 2006, the European Union enacted a Directive on Mandatory Retention of Communications Traffic Data, which requires Member States to require communications providers to retain communications data for a period of between 6 months and 2 years. Member States have until September 16, 2007 to transpose the requirements of the Directive into national laws; however, a delay of 18 additional months, until March of 2009, is available. 16 of the 25 member states of the EU have declared that they will delay the implementation of data retention of Internet traffic data for the additional period.


http://www.epic.org/privacy/intl/data_retention.ht...

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?...

1)These so called commissioners (there are plenty of them around in Brussels-one is famous for the Microsoft affair)
are just to eager to slap fines on any American firm, let it be Intel,Google,M.S. etc.
It appears they(the commissioners & their depts) finance their activities with these fines.
All these commissioners & their staff are political appointees-recieving bloated salaries & perks.

2)It appears the performance of these people are judged on the basis of "the amount of fines they collect".

3)Now its a warning then a fine,we know the path so well.




RE: Now its a warning then a fine
By Christopher1 on 5/27/2007 7:33:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, in March 2006, the European Union enacted a Directive on Mandatory Retention of Communications Traffic Data, which requires Member States to require communications providers to retain communications data for a period of between 6 months and 2 years.


That is the reason why Google is doing this, most likely. They are REQUIRED by European Union law to keep this information for nearly 6 months to 2 years.

I don't see why they should really have to do this (I know the arguements about 'catching predators' but those are patently false), if the police REALLY think that someone is trading CP, downloading something else illegal, etc. they can just get a warrant and tap their internet.

Of course, they would then have to PROVE that the person who they are going after is the right person, which they cannot do if someone has a wireless router or shares their internet connection with other people (school router, etc.).


RE: Now its a warning then a fine
By crystal clear on 5/27/2007 9:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
1)Yes Google has to respect/obey laws of indivisual countries,let it be any country in the world not only the EU.

2)Yes the right way is through negotiations & not warnings & fines.

3)Yes the EU member countries themselves are a disunited lot.They can never agree upon anything,let alone Mandatory Retention of Communications Traffic Data.
Example-
quote:
16 of the 25 member states of the EU have declared that they will delay the implementation of data retention of Internet traffic data for the additional period.


4)EU is one organized mess-where Brussels Proposes & the member states Disposes.

This drags on,whilst companies are caught in between not knowing which way to go.

Brussels is overflowing with Lawyers,Consultants,Advisors,
Lobbyist,Representatives,Experts,Diplomats etc.

They always AGREE to DISAGREE & AGREE when to meet again.
All are HAPPY,so also the EU commisioners/depts.

They are Friends at the Dinning Table & Enemies at the NEGOTIATION TABLE.
Life goes on this way.
Example-
They need 3 yrs - from March 06 to March 09 to agree on a common policy.
quote:
however, a delay of 18 additional months, until March of 2009, is available.


Thats life in Brussels on a FAT EXPENSE ACCT.!


RE: Now its a warning then a fine
By GI2K on 5/27/2007 10:23:10 AM , Rating: 2
2)That's the US way of doing things... here you get fined or in jail till you respect the law. I like better our system than now have companies and individuals buy their impunity.

3)Really then why are they all still together?... and more joining in?...

4)Brussels is a city, it's not an independent entity... besides the commissioners are representatives of the various countries, and if most of them have agreed with the mandatory log of the communications I don't see why you say they keep disagreeing.


RE: Now its a warning then a fine
By GI2K on 5/27/2007 10:15:54 AM , Rating: 2
Well I didn't know Google was now a communication provider...


OMFG
By Nik00117 on 5/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: OMFG
By Dactyl on 5/26/2007 3:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
What kind of porn do you like?

Even if it's completely normal, do you want people to know exactly what you've seen?

This is going to be the new kind of blackmail. It's the same as the old black male, Clarence Thomas, experienced in his Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, where Dems gave out his movie rental history, showing his favorite porn star was Long Dong Silver. That's an entirely mainstream, wholesome choice of pornography, but it was still very embarrassing for him.

We've already seen Google compromise its "don't be evil" policy to make a little money in China. What would Google be willing to do to protect itself if one of its founders was facing jail time? How far would it go? What is it capable of?

At least Bill Gates is a patriot. He put security holes in Windows so our government could get important information. The Google crowd are anti-American. They won't have a special icon for memorial day, because it memorializes American soldiers. Google.ca has no problem memorializing Canadian soldiers. Google doesn't want to offend people by putting up a special logo on Google.com


RE: OMFG
By P4blo on 5/26/2007 9:52:17 PM , Rating: 4
It's a market research department's wet dream. They will be doing mass cross referencing within seconds. 40% of those who regularly search for pr0n are also ATI fanboys. 70% of those fanboys apparently searched for 'horse strength prozac' when the R600 finally got released.

Prepare for a future of advertisers that knows you better than you do. They'll tell *you* what you want, and probably get it right :-)


Information Mining + Adverts = Bad
By Gastrian on 5/26/2007 3:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
Considering that Google has just bought out an advertising firm I think that its data retention policies should be more closely scrutinised. There are laws there to protect us from companies selling our information onto third party advertisers without our authorisation but what happens when the company storing your information is also the advertising firm?




By mindless1 on 5/26/2007 6:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
What happens is they might be better able to target advertising.

While I'm not overly concerned about the length of retention, shorter periods do seem to compliment personal privacy more. Certainly Google is sooner to point out the positive aspects of longer retention if any mention is made but data can be applied in both constructive and destructive ways depending on the intentions of those who have it - and we can't seriously assume anyone is immune to data theft.


WHY vs WHY NOT
By crystal clear on 5/26/2007 9:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A Google spokeswoman confirmed that the EU privacy group is concerned about the company "keeping information about people's search for a definite period of time ranging from 18 to 24 months."


This could be considered like an official response from Google & an explaination-

quote:
Why does Google remember information about searches?


5/11/2007 11:21:00 AM
Posted by Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel

We recently announced a new policy to anonymize our server logs after 18–24 months. We’re the only leading search company to have taken this step publicly. We believe it’s an important part of our commitment to respect user privacy while balancing a number of important factors.

In developing this policy, we spoke with various privacy advocates, regulators and others about how long they think the period should be. There is a wide spectrum of views on this – some think data should be preserved for longer, others think it should be anonymized almost immediately. We spent a great deal of time sorting this out and thought we’d explain some of the things that prompted us to decide on 18-24 months.

Three factors were critical. One was maintaining our ability to continue to improve the quality of our search services. Another was to protect our systems and our users from fraud and abuse. The third was complying—and anticipating compliance—with possible data retention requirements. Here’s a bit more about each of these:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/05/why-does-go...




RE: WHY vs WHY NOT
By crystal clear on 5/28/2007 1:16:06 AM , Rating: 2
STRANGE-

The EU does not ask "Yahoo! and Microsoft ! to clarify their data retention practices and policies".

Why !


GJ EU
By JoeBanana on 5/27/2007 8:03:32 AM , Rating: 4
All I can say is good job EU. Me like. I am not keen on 2 year tracking...




typical eurocommunism
By rika13 on 5/27/2007 1:07:13 PM , Rating: 2
the EU continually does this crap with it's own people and organizations, but whines when an american company does anything that would show them as oppressive or benefits humanity (EU forcing M$ to open security holes for symantec and mccrappy, caring about "climate change" and acting like it's man-made when even comrade gore's own data shows it isn't and then demanding america foot the bill, complaining about us going to iraq after saddam REPEATEDLY used chemical weapons against the kurds and iran but not noticeing france selling nuclear weapons to anyone who would pay, the second-class status they give their eastern members and third-class status they give turkey)




RE: typical eurocommunism
By JoeBanana on 5/27/2007 1:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
I must say you very nicely connected war, chemical weapons and nuclear weapons with google storing 2 year data. I admire that smooth transition.
But we are talking about the law and I personally think that this logs should be shorter(I know what good mysql queries can do.)). But if you aren't from EU you shouldn't be concerned cuz google can store your data for as long as it wants.


News Flash
By Superbike on 5/27/2007 1:23:28 AM , Rating: 2
Google to buy EU!




So is that...
By DeSade on 5/27/2007 4:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
While the company has stated that the records are sued to monitor and improve its search-related services...

So this is what BB can look forward to in the future? Or just a Freudian Slip by the author about what should happen?




"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot











botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki