Google has announced that it will start making its records about users' searches anonymous after 18 to 24 months under a new policy. The Mountain View, California-based company instigated the move on its own after talking to "leading privacy stakeholders" in Europe and the U.S. Until now, the search giant has indefinitely retained a log of every search with identifiers that can associate it with a particular computer. The new policy, to be implemented within the next year, is intended to better protect users' privacy.
Under the new policy, unless Google is legally required to retain them longer (under data retention laws), server logs will still be retained but will be "anonymized" after 18 to 24 months so that they can't be identified with individual users, according to a blog entry written by Peter Fleischer, Google's privacy counsel for Europe, and Nicole Wong, the company's deputy general counsel. Engineers are working out the technical details now. Google keeps the server logs so it can improve services and protect them from abuse and security threats, the company said. Each search record includes the query, IP addresses, and cookie details.
News source: InfoWorld