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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 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.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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