Get outta my data, Google

Google is to limit the amount of time it retains users’ search data to 18 months from 18-24 months.

The Financial Times sees this as a concession to the EU, which wrote to the internet giant last month asking Google to justify its policy.

Google’s move relates to terms entered in the search engine and the address of various servers, but not more personal information it has collected with users’ express permission.

However, company’s privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said future data retention laws may obligate the firm to keep the data for 24 months after all. But hey, at least they’re not keeping it indefinitely any more.

Fleischer wrote on the official Google blog:

“The internet is a global medium, and the principles at stake – privacy, security, innovation and legal obligations to retain data – have an impact beyond Europe, and outside of the realm of privacy. These principles sometimes conflict: while shorter retention periods are good for privacy, longer retention periods are needed for security, innovation and compliance reasons. We believe we’ve struck a reasonable balance between these various factors.”

You can read his full post here, where he also outlines the reasons why Google believes it should retain search data.

At least it’s movement on the company’s part to tackle concerns over how it uses data — a British watchdog at the weekend branded the firm among the worst on the web when it came to users’ privacy.

I’d rather they keep my search data for no longer than six months, but there you go. I enjoy my privacy and have been known to defend it fiercely — surely I’m not the only one?

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