Europeans warn search engines: Delete user data sooner

A European Commission advisory body has suggested that search companies delete data collected about their users after six months -- a far cry from what most companies currently do. The recommendation arrived in a 29-page "opinion" (PDF) published Friday by a European Commission body known as the Article 29 Working Party. Backed by privacy groups, it has been pressuring Internet companies on the search data front for months. The report focused on advertising-supported search engines, as opposed to search functions embedded in Web sites.

The Working Party's suggestions don't officially have the force of law yet, but they are expected to be adopted by the EC. The EC already adopted a broader set of data protection laws a decade ago, but this report was meant to address specifically how search engines, including those headquartered outside its borders, fit into that setup.

Privacy in search engines is critical because "an individual's search history contains a footprint of that person's interests, relations, and intentions," which can then be mined by businesses and national security operatives alike, the working party wrote.

News Source: ZDNet Australia

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26 Comments

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Hmm...for once the EC is doing something right. However, if it were up to me, I'd limit personal data retention to no more than 30 days. Screw the search engines...all of 'em.

Yeah if "the people" means the EU's greedy pockets. Yet another tactic to steal money. Consumer protection is the illusion. It's the last thing on the EU's mind but they succeeded in fooling some.

Apparently.

(C_Guy said @ #5.1)
Yeah if "the people" means the EU's greedy pockets.

How does this gain them more money? If anything, there's less data to be mined and sold for marketing.

(C_Guy said @ #5.1)
Yeah if "the people" means the EU's greedy pockets. Yet another tactic to steal money. Consumer protection is the illusion. It's the last thing on the EU's mind but they succeeded in fooling some.

Apparently.

Yeah, what no earth are you talking about? Use some logic.

How would it "steal money"? If anything search companies and advertisers would oppose this and cause them to withhold money. It really does seem the EU wants to protect the consumer rather than the business. Now if they could just get rid of corruption and farming subsidies then it might be on the way to becoming a decent organisation.

How in the world do websites comply with stuff like this? especially when they cover many jurisdictions... if a server is in the USA and the USA requires one set of data retention on ALL tranasctions on the server, then the EU comes and says get rid of our transactions... the Get rid of ours violates the all in the other jurisdiction... kinda makes it almost impossible to work unless you make a distributed system where you have servers in the EU which do their logs and servers in the USA that do their logs and somehow break apart what to do then replicate all the other data... but that would be a pain in the butt for smaller companies

(neufuse said @ #4)
How in the world do websites comply with stuff like this? especially when they cover many jurisdictions...

Depends where your business is located - if your business operates in EU they have to follow the EU laws, if they operate in USA they follow the local laws etc.

If the person/people/company running the service is in EU and the servers are in USA, the business can be sued / banned from operating in EU if they break the laws.

(daPhoenix said @ #4.1)

Depends where your business is located - if your business operates in EU they have to follow the EU laws, if they operate in USA they follow the local laws etc.

If the person/people/company running the service is in EU and the servers are in USA, the business can be sued / banned from operating in EU if they break the laws.


So in essence it's another rule geared at screwing over businesses that don't actually reside within the EU, so ~90% of the targeted businesses I'd guess

(z0phi3l said @ #4.2)


So in essence it's another rule geared at screwing over businesses that don't actually reside within the EU, so ~90% of the targeted businesses I'd guess

Please. What makes you think that businesses residing within the EU don't have to follow EU laws now? I'm also assuming that if the shoe were on the other foot, you'd be happy for EU companies not to comply with US law whilst operating there?

(Brodel said @ #4.3)

Please. What makes you think that businesses residing within the EU don't have to follow EU laws now? I'm also assuming that if the shoe were on the other foot, you'd be happy for EU companies not to comply with US law whilst operating there?

If the EU law forces a conflict with a law where the provider is based from the EU law essentially "screws over" the company because they have to follow the law of their operating country and/or violate EU law

So yes it does screw over non EU based companies since the law doesn't take into account what the rest of the world is currently doing. I though there might be treaties that also affect this so until it is actually passed as a law it is just speculation.

Not sure if I remember this correctly but I think the U.S. regulation governing this issue sets the retention date farther out. If the EC adopted this as law it would butt head with the U.S. so now sure how it would all work out if the EC is trying to extend it to companies that operate or are headquartered outside the EC's jurisdiction.

Replies generated by ACME Response Predictor v1.2b

Reply Prediction 1:
Screw the Europeans. America should just buy Europe!

Reply Prediction 2:
Screw the Europeans. America should just stop doing business with them. That would show them!

Reply Prediction 3:
Blame Steve Jobs!

Reply Prediction 4:
Blame Bill Gates!

Reply Prediction 5:
Releasing Vista too early made this worse!

Reply Prediction 6:
Are you crazy? Thanks to Vista's enhanced security, this is a non-issue!

Reply Prediction 7:
How did this make the front page?

Reply Prediction 8:
Slow news day, eh?

No More Predictions.

lol very true, this story isn't very interesting so your comment is the kind of thing i was expecting as in it has nothing to do with this "news". mabye this will be worth posting when it actually becomes law.

anyway i choose reply 7

Reply Prediction 1:
Screw the Europeans. America should just buy Europe!

With WHAT money?. US dollar is almost trash on this days... Only worth on 3rd world contries...

(ThePitt said @ #2.3)

With WHAT money?. US dollar is almost trash on this days... Only worth on 3rd world contries...

The exchange rate is not the same as worth.

(Tha Bloo Monkee said @ #2.4)
How is your comment any better, SniperX?
Doh! You're so right. Boy, do I feel stupid right now. I'd better change my name or something, to help deal with the humiliation. Warnings to the usual address please....

(SniperX said @ #2)
Reply Prediction 1:
Screw the Europeans. America should just buy Europe!

Too late! We already bought Iraq, and we just don't have the funds.