Google tweaks search privacy protection

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Google tweaks search privacy protection

Information will become anonymous 18 to 24 months after a search is carried

Google plans to make all of the information it stores from user searches anonymous after 18 to 24 months, according to an announcement on its official blog

The search firm currently collects information such as the query itself, IP addresses and cookie details, all of which is stored for as long as Google thinks it is useful.

"Today we are pleased to report a change in our privacy policy. Unless we are legally required to retain log data for longer, we will 'anonymise' our server logs after a limited period of time," said the post from Peter Fleischer, Google's European privacy counsel, and Nicole Wong, deputy general counsel.

"When we implement this policy change in the coming months, we will continue to keep server log data [so that we can improve Google's services and protect them from security and other abuses] but will make this data much more anonymous, so that it can no longer be identified with individual users, after 18-24 months."

The two counsels said that Google had reached its decision after talking with leading privacy stakeholders in Europe and the US.

The change is currently being worked on by Google engineers and will be implemented "within a year's time".
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