Apr 22, 2008 114 reads by Navneet Kaushal

The European Union has asked Internet Search Engine giants Yahoo! and Google to follow European Data Protection Rules and delete all user data after a maximum of six months. This request has been made inspite of the fact that both these search engines operate out of the European Union. Among all search engines, Google was the very first company that had trimmed down its search information storage period to 18 months. AOL and Yahoo! retain their search information for an even lesser period of time. Their storage period is just 12 months. Inspite of this, the EU panel requires these search engines to cut down their time period to 6 months, stating that it does not see any need of data retention beyond six months.

According to the Associated Press, the European Union's executive branch known as the European Commission is redrafting data-protection rules for the 27 nations conglomerate. Inspite the of the fact that the EU Privacy Watchdog has no substantial powers, still this particular report could lead to stricter privacy rules. According to the Privacy Panel's report, the search engine activities are under the EU jurisdiction (irrespective of their HQ locations) when they collect user information such as IP address or cookies from a user residing in Europe.

Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer said, “This perspective – the ways in which data is used to improve consumers' experience on the Web is unfortunately sometimes lacking in discussions about online privacy. Protecting our users' privacy is at the heart of all our products. It is the reason we were the first company to commit to anonymising our search logs, and also why we dramatically shortened our preference cookie lifetime.”

According to Yahoo spokeswoman Kelley Benander, “The company is committed to striking the right balance between protecting user privacy, providing the most compelling online experience, meeting our legal obligations and preventing fraud."

According the panel report, "If personal data is stored, the retention period should be no longer than necessary for the specific purposes of the processing. Therefore, after the end of a search session, personal data should be deleted and continued storage needs an adequate justification."

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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