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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: 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 (, and Sweden admitting to having tapped citizens' phones for decades before the US "Wire-tapping Scandal" (

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?

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