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Bowing to pressure in Europe, Microsoft said Tuesday that it would redesign the worldwide operation of its online search engine, Bing, to eliminate all data collected on users after six months.
John Vassallo, a Microsoft vice president and associate general counsel, said the company would introduce the changes over the next 18 months, aiming to satisfy a European advisory group that had been critical of how search engines collect and retain data on individuals for advertising purposes.
I'd expect all of them to have to lower it even more in the future.
if MS was acting like a spiteful brat and pulled all their products from the European market.
This is most likely a move to prevent the EU from going after MS again when the regulators get around to looking at internet privacy. The EU regulators can instead go after Google on this one. ;)
Right now both Google and Bing retain IP information along with your search details for 18 months or more.
Google has publicly stated they deleted NOTHING. They merely shear off the last 3 digits of your IP address. Google keeps the raw data for 18 months before they 'anonymize' the server logs.
What is in the server logs you might ask:
These "server logs" typically include your web request, Internet Protocol address, browserThese logs are coupled with your Unique GUID assigned to your particular browser and its linked to your gmail/adsense/adwords/desktop/etc.
type, browser language, the date and time of your request and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser.
When AOL's user data was dumped, it was easy to figure out who was who.
Under our current policy, as soon as Microsoft receives a Bing search query we take steps to de-identify the data by separating it from account information that could identify the person who performed the search. Then, at 18 months, we take the additional step of deleting the IP address, the de-identified cookie ID and any other cross-session IDs associated with the query. The core components of this policy will not change. Our new policy will change the date at which we delete the IP address associated with search queries to six months.
Consider this quote:
"Back in December, Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, asked that Firefox users immediately switch to Bing from Google because of Google's privacy issues. He was incensed that Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in an MSNBC interview:"
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."
Never forget "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.". I have printed off that headline with Eric's photo and put it up on my office wall so I look at it daily as a reminder of how little Google actually cares about people and privacy. Gotta keep those shareholders happy... and to think at one time I was going to buy GOOG stock... ha.
Microsoft to delete Yahoo search data after 3 months [arstechnica.com]
Microsoft will have to follow Yahoo's policy of keeping search data for three months if the Microhoo 10-year partnership goes through later this year. That means the Microsoft will have to delete any personal data it gets from the Yahoo after three months.
Earlier this week, Microsoft decided to comply with the EU's request to cut down search data retention to six months. At the time, we also noted that Google keeps its data for nine months and Yahoo keeps data for three months. Naturally, Yahoo was pleased it was winning at least one aspect of the search war, so it sent over the following statement to us.
"Yahoo! is extremely proud of our Data Anonymization Policy which has received wide support and affirms our commitment to help protect our users' privacy," a Yahoo spokesperson told Ars. "Yahoo!'s policy both dramatically reduces the time we hold personal data and increases the scope of log data covered under the policy."
We followed up with the company about a Bing-Yahoo deal. "Microsoft will need to comply with Yahoo! policies for data we convey to them," a Yahoo spokesperson told Ars.