March 15, 2007
Google to Anonymize Search Data After 2 Years or So
Google has announced that it will anonymize user data after holding it for 18 to 24 months. Currently, Google and other search engines hold onto data indefinitely. The move was made after consultation with U.S. and European privacy groups. The European Union has a requirement that individual data must be kept for 2 years. The United States government is seeking a similar law here and has been placing pressure on Internet providers to voluntarily hold on to the information whether a law is in place or not. Google will still make information available to law enforcement agencies as required by law.
The U.S. proposals have been a pet project of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He has lobbied telcos and other service providers to cooperate on this and has even proposed indefinite retention in some circumstances. All of this has been justified in the name of the war on terror. Members of Congress are calling for the Attorney General to resign based on the handling of fired prosecutors, and the reports of abuses of the Patriot Act by the FBI. The ISPs have generally resisted the retention issue because of the costs they would incur as well as the unpopular reaction they expect from their user base. Will Gonzales' goals come to fruition with this cloud over the Justice Department?
March 15, 2007 | Permalink
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