Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Microsoft Willing to Purge Search Data After Six Months

Microsoft told European authorities Tuesday that it is open to purging it's search caches after six months, assuming Google and Yahoo do the same. Currently, Microsoft holds on to search data for 18 months. Google currently keeps search data on hand for nine months, and Yahoo for 13 months.

The advisory panel of the European Commission recently put in a request that all search companies keep search data for six months only. Microsoft at first was hesitant to comply in their initial response to the European Commission stating, "that keeping search data on hand gives a company a competitive advantage."

The European Commission advisory panel was scheduled to meet either today or tomorrow. However, the members have decided to delay their decision on whether to take legal action against the companies until February. They have requested the three major search companies make presentations before the panel to plead their cases.

This comes just after Swiss and German officials expressed major concerns over Google's Street View map program, which puts photographs of landowners property on the internet without consent, which completely violates privacy laws in those two countries.

Google's use of IP targeting data has also come under scrutiny by the European Commission. Google committed to partial IP address anonymization, which involves deleting one of the four octets in a users IP address. For example, 301.8.2.555 would become 301.8.2.xxx. However, many believe this does not fully protect the users, as other data may be able to be gathered to piece together a particular user.

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