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Over the years we’ve taken many steps to protect our users' data and privacy. For example, we have resisted overly-broad government subpoenas; we've designed our services to give users a choice between personalized services and general services; and we've engineered our services to allow users to see and control how much data they wish to share with us. Recently, we took another important step to improve our privacy practices by announcing a new policy to anonymize our server logs after 18 to 24 months, becoming the first leading search company to publish a data retention policy. We also posted here to explain the factors that guided our decision to retain server log data for 18 to 24 months.
In the spirit of transparency, we're publishing our response to the Working Party's letter.
How Long Should Google Remember Searches? [googleblog.blogspot.com]
If you ask the average person in the street what gets their vote in an election, privacy will be way way down the list compared to law and order, health, transport etc.
Google has much further reach, and needs to extend these implied privacy protections.
After her China incident, I am doubtful Google can do "no evil" (i.e. she does do evil).
[edited by: Tapolyai at 5:12 pm (utc) on June 12, 2007]
The Google privacy official notes that the national data retention policies of individual European nations vary from six months to 24 months, depending on the country.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice has called for a 24-month data retention period, he notes. And post-Enron corporate reforms call for U.S. businesses to retain data for substantial periods.
That isn't to say that Google may not benefit from retaining search data for 18 months or some other period of time. But in the real world, Google probably doesn't have any choice.