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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.

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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
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.

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