Google Believes Data Retention Limit In EU Report To Be Too Low

Started by ganeshbala, Apr 09, 2008, 02:00 AM

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Google Believes Data Retention Limit In EU Report To Be Too Low

Despite search engine providers' claims that the longer they keep users' data, the better search results are, EU regulators believe that is not the case and as long as the Internet is part of our daily lives, there is a need to create an equilibrium between the legitimate business needs of search engine providers and protecting personal data of Internet users, the regulators said in the Article 29 Working Party.

Following an increasing number of complaints received, the EU suggests that in order to avoid breaches and respect privacy, search engines should storage data no longer than six months: "Retention periods should be minimized and be proportionate to each purpose put forward by search engine providers (...) the Working Party does not see a basis for a retention period beyond 6 months."

These suggestions don't have the power of a law yet, but they might in the future, despite the wishes of search engine providers. The privacy of individuals should be respected at any costs: "Search engine providers must delete or anonymise (in an irreversible and efficient way) personal data once they are no longer necessary for the purpose for which they were collected."

The report asks search engine providers to motivate if they need to keep data longer than 6 months and to demonstrate that it is necessary for the service. Google has previously objected EU proposals in January this year, when Peter Scharr, Germany's data protection commissioner, said search engine providers were storing private data which was synonymous to having market power, as he said.

In a statement released on Monday, Google's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said the company does not agree with the report's findings, that data retention is important to provide Internet users with better search results and that "while the working party has welcomed our decision to anonymise data logs after 18 months as a positive privacy protective step, it suggested in findings released today that this period might still be too long."

Regarding the IP matter, Fleischer also said that they should not be treated as personal information: Google maintains the idea that a user cannot be identified just by learning its IP, as this simply points to the location of the computer, which can often be at an office or Internet café, and not to the actual individual.

Source: eflux

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