“Why do the search engine store the IP
addresses [of searchers] for so long and what
are they using them for?”
The Norwegian Data Inspectorate,
independent administrative body under the
Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Government
Administration, wants answers and is
investigating the data storage policies of a
number of search engines, including Google and
Norwegian search engines Sesam and Kvasir. The
focus is on whether the storage of large
quantities of deta related to internet searches
is a violation of Norwegian data protection laws.
According to the latest news reports a
European Union advisory body has written a
letter to Google warning the search giant that
its pratices fall short of EU data protection
standards. Google confirmed that it received an
earlier letter from the Norwegian Data
Protection Group. Details were not yet released.
b. Privacy Concerns
Surround Proposed Google, DoubleClick Merger
In the USA, three consumer advocate
organizations have filed a joint complaint with
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting
Google/DoubleClick merger be stopped.The
complaint asserts that "neither Google or
DoubleClick have taken adequate steps to
safeguard the personal data that is collected."
The complaint says that Google's acquisition of
DoubleClick "will give one company access to
more information about the Internet activities
of consumers than any other company in the world.
There is simply no consumer privacy issue more
pressing for the Commission to consider than
Google's plan to combine the search histories
and Web site visit records of Internet users."
c. Google wants to alter data retention policy
According to a March 14 announcement, Google
will over the next few months begin to anonymize
search data it retains. The plan is to strip
parts of IP data from records in order to
protect the user’s privacy and reduce the
likelihood that the IP address or cookie
information can be tied to a particular user.