European Union To Question Data Retention Policies Of Other Search Engines

EU data protection group questions other search engines from InfoWorld reports that the European Union will expand their investigation beyond just Google and investigate other search engine providers data retention policies.

Danny is quoted in the article, explaining that it makes sense for the EU to look at other search engines, and not just Google.

Both Google and Yahoo have 30-year cookies. So where’s the letter for Yahoo from the Working Group? And isn’t 14 years from Microsoft excessive?”

Microsoft and Yahoo both issued statements:

“Microsoft has a long-term commitment to providing customers with control over the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information. While we have not received formal communication from the Article 29 Working Party, we recognize that online search is creating legitimate concerns about privacy and are actively engaged with data protection authorities around the world to ensure that our practices meet the highest standards when it comes to protecting privacy,” Microsoft said in a statement.
“Our users’ trust is one of Yahoo’s most valuable assets. That’s why maintaining that trust and protecting our users’ privacy is paramount to us. Our data retention practices vary according to the diverse nature of our services,” Yahoo said.

Postscript From Danny: Back on June 12, I asked Microsoft and Yahoo these questions:

1) How long do you retain server log data?

2) Does that log data contains search terms in it?

3) How long do you maintains account data that may be associated with someone’s search history?

Both companies responded that the questions had been received, but answers have yet to come.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Legal: Privacy

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Matt

    I found your post to be very interesting regarding how the EU is closely monitoring how all search engines use the Internet data they collect and whether the EU will impose shorter data retention times to protect individual’s privacy.

    My organization the New Millennium Research Council (NMRC) recently explored the privacy and security concerns associated with data retention mandates in its online newsletter. The newsletter shares the views of Hance Haney, a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and Peter Swire, a professor of law at the Ohio State University and a fellow at the Center for American Progress.

    Here are the key points that they make:

    Haney concluded that collecting users’ IP addresses would not stop criminals from connecting to public Wi-Fi access points as anonymous users. Even if these public hotspots required users to register, Haney explained that criminals would use residential wireless networks that are “frequently unsecured.”

    Swire concluded that the US should continue to use the current data preservation law and not adopt a nationwide data retention mandate. Swire, however, said that the data preservation system must be improved to ensure that any sensitive government data collected by ISPs would not end up in the wrong hands and threaten our national security.

  • http://newmillenniumresearch.org/ Matt

    You can read the NMRC’s newsletter on data retention at:

    http://newmillenniumresearch.org/milestones/june2007.html

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