May 25, 2007 2:05 PM PDT

European officials question Google's privacy policy

A European Commission advisory group has raised concerns about how Google uses and manages users' search data.

A privacy advisory group composed of representatives from all of the European Union countries sent Google a letter expressing concern over the search giant's new privacy policy announced in March.

The issue surrounds Google's policy of anonymizing its server logs after 18 to 24 months. According to a Commission source, the advisory group is concerned with how the information is managed, rather than the length of time it is stored.

Google, which confirmed it received a letter from the chairman of the advisory group, said it will respond, as requested, before the group holds its next meeting in mid-June.

Google previously kept consumers' data as long as it was needed. The company now plans to keep server log data, but will enhance the ability to make it anonymous after 18 to 24 months.

"We believe it's an important part of our commitment to respect user privacy while balancing a number of important factors, such as maintaining security and preventing fraud and abuse," Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy attorney, said in a statement.

"We are committed to engaging in a constructive dialogue with privacy stakeholders, including the (European Commission privacy advisory group), on how to improve privacy practices for the benefit of Google users and for everyone on the Internet," he added.

Google will have until mid-June to respond to the advisory committee's concerns. The committee is expected to review Google's response and may issue a formal recommendation before the summer holidays, the Commission source said.

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5 comments

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Why there no one discuss this issue...
Just wonder why there is no one have interest about google is going to take-over the hole internet...
Posted by Kenny Yeung (25 comments )
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Do no evil...
my @rse. Google is just another big company out to make a buck at the expense of the consumer.
Posted by a85 (104 comments )
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It is because Europe is a real democracy unlike US
The reason that European commission is able to impose real sanctions on Microsoft and soon Google too is because they have real democracy in Europe. It is because the European governments 1st work for the benefit of their citizens and then Big corporations/media, whereas in US the government 1st works for the benefit of Big (VC + wall street backed) corporations and at the distant 2nd place for it's citizens.

To see this point, consider the fact the people in USA still don't even have Universal Health care!
And people in USA pay same or even HIGHER Taxes than Europe, specially when you consider
property Taxes on homes that exist in USA but not in Europe. I know this 1st hand since we have offices in USA, France and Check Republic.
So in contrast to the LIEs that the Big media has been telling the American people, we have a bigger
government than typical European country, as evident by the fact that we pay same or more Taxes than them, and by the fact that we have military bases in 130 countries!!!
But we just don't get anything for our Taxes but a massive military and as a result one unnecessary war after another.

The question is then, how is it possible that the US is so un-democratic?
How do the powers to be in US get away with this lack of democracy?
The answer is that the US media which is controlled by a handful of people, Lies and Lies and Lies to the American people, lulling many into gullibility and not knowing what is the truth anymore. And the US media is not just WallStreet Journal, CNN, CBS, etc.but it is also Hollywood,
Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc., it is this oligopoly to control all "eye balls" worldwide.

Of course as the ultimate indication of how fundamentally rich Europe is becoming because it is a real democracy compared to US, all you have to look at is the collapsing Dollar against Euro, because one currency rising against the other is the ultimate Vote of the market (people) as to which economy they thing is going to be stronger.

So EU indeed needs to take the actions that it has taken against Microsoft and now Google, but in fact EU needs to take further actions to protect it's economy/culture from being controlled by US media oligopoly, less EU wants to end up being as un-democratic and as fundamentally poor as US citizens are.

So wake up to the threat that the Big media, of which Google & Yahoo are just 2 more pieces pose
to your freedom, to your well being and find alternative sources of information.
Posted by free_people (66 comments )
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Actions against Google?
Uhm... no one ever said anything about actions in the article. Just recommendations to what they thing Google should do.
Posted by limefan913 (129 comments )
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google no-privacy policy
I was amazed that you can type almost anyone's name in google and it will bring up at least one thing about that person. It had my communication with my health insurance on there. I was shocked.
It just makes me realize that big brother REALLY IS WATCHING, pretty freaky
Posted by bless5488 (1 comment )
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