back to article Google: Our data retention is not data protection watchdogs' business

The retention of search engine query data is a security matter and not one for Europe's data protection officials, according to Google's global privacy chief. Peter Fleischer said that its retention of user search data was "just not their field". Speaking to weekly technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio, Fleischer said it is …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is violating privacy

    Firstly the privacy directive they're in violation of is nothing to do with the 'data retention directive'.

    Google used the 'data retention directive' as an excuse to why they needed to violate european privacy. They made the false claim that laws like the 'data retention directive' might apply to them, and that was why they needed to keep the data for 18 months.

    So what's the game here, it looks like a straight misdirection. We still have the same problem with Google, they keep all your search queries and IP addresses, and if you have a Google account, they have it linked to your emails and surf habits (via Google Analytics & Adsense) and all of this information can be used to identify you.

    They are required by EU law to hold only the minimum data, for the minimum time, with the minimum cross linking.

    "I would point out that even if the Data Retention Directive were repealed tomorrow, our decision on the factors that went into the right period to retain server logs, the decision to keep them for 18 months and then to anonymise them, it would be the same decision even if data retention were repealed tomorrow,"

    You shouldn't even be keeping that data for 18 months, the data rentention directive does not apply to you, it cannot be used as an excuse, quit this double talk and misdirection, stop violating EU privacy Google as you are required to do by law.

  2. The Cube

    More Excuses and Misdirection from Google

    So the Google public excuse for retaining search data for 18 months before stripping IP addresses of EU regulation has been false all along then. "the decision to keep them for 18 months and then to anonymise them, it would be the same decision even if data retention were repealed tomorrow".

    Of course Google's real interest here is acquiring more information about you than all the other corporates and your government's total surveillance programs put together. Do not underestimate the power of statistically analysing multiple, independently benign databases, a very accurate picture of your life develops very quickly. This data collection allows Google to make a lot more money selling your data and using it to target adverts at you.

    Whatever happened to the company that promised to 'do no evil' ?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google now bigger the EU

    So Google have declared that they do not consider themselves subject to EU law.

    "Fleischer said his company would pursue its own policy irrespective of what EU law demanded on retention."

    How long before the EU decide to outlaw Google inside the EU?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just run that one by me again?

    Is this quote accurate??

    <Peter Fleischer said that its retention of user search data was "just not their field">, where 'their' refers to Euro data retention officials.



    Flimsy semantic wriggling of someone who KNOWS they are in the wrong

    Data retention is so very much part of securiy - Google users' security

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Sounds nice

    I would be much more confident in Google's ability to properly manage data without government supervision if Google hadn't kowtowed to the Chinese government and helped put somebody in jail.

    It seems that if China asks something, then it's Yessir! RightawaySir!, but if it's a regular (what's left of) democratic government, then it's more like Shove off it and Get Out Of My Way.

    Could it be because Google already owns the market here ? I wonder.

  6. Cris Page

    I avoid....

    Anything with the Google name, they are just too nosey for my money. I cant see why people are so stuck on G-mail, on the infrequent occasions I change ISP, It also acts as a spring clean of contacts (and spammers in the case of one account that Is "prone" to spammers by its useage) and its easy enough to send out a mail to those who *need* to know that I am changing address.

    We should not surrender our privacy, not to government, not to companies, none of them can be trusted to "do no evil" with the information they leech off of us.

    Isnt it strange though? so many American companies seem to like to act as if U.S. law applied around the world and yet seem unwilling to obey laws in other territories where they operate... unless it suits them - say for example where it is likely a government may order access to their service blocked for failure to provide data that they have harvested through that service

    No Thanks.. I will stick with Webferret, it finds everything I need.

  7. vahid

    once upon a time

    Google has lived out the good times its going down the evil route of MS and government..

    Tracking what we all do

    Easy solution :

    1. clear all cookies and cache every closure or exit of gmail and use TOR to browse net

    2. Stop using Gmail and google.

    3. Use webcrawler metacrawler astavista the old search engines its time to revert lol

    4. Let google loose its user so it can snoop the air that flies past their network

    All snoopers are loosers and these so called amature terrorists gives the government and these organisations more reason power to snoop

    So if you ask me yes the war is being won by the terrorist cos we have a little bit of freedom left and this is slowly erroding day by day

    It might be soon to go and live in some caves afghanstan have no mobiles or electronic devices for them to snoop

    Hey we might meet up with laden and all those billions of dollars he has in the caves and have lamb burgers for the rest of our lives lol

  8. Dave

    Why do you actually care?

    So what google know what I search life is being monitored and I'm being followed OMG!!

  9. NRT

    Randomise your queries

    If you use Firefox you can download TrackMeNot.

    This will fire off a random search to Google once a minute, that should make it interesting to work out what I am interested in!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is now much much too "big for its boots"

    I quote the statement "The retention of search engine query data is a security matter and not one for Europe's data protection officials, according to Google's global privacy chief.". From this statement it seems that Google have become much too large and clearly could not give a damn about people who use its services, other than to take as much money as possible from them. They ride roughshod over you as if you do not exist. I had an adsense account and with NO

    EXPLANATION at all ,even though I asked, they simply said that I had had illegitmate traffic and that my account was suspended and all my earned money taken back. THAT is pure arrogance and it is about time that the European Commission did the same thing as they are doing with Microsoft, bringing them to heel !!. Perhaps Google should become a bit more humble again.

  11. Daniel

    RE: NRT

    Nice, I like that. I think I will poke at google :)

    It doesn't affect their "searches", the data is safe and it makes you more "random".

    Thanks for the idea/link.

  12. Daniel

    Amusing paradigm

    I remember a few years ago, they promissed "Do no evil".

    Atleast with Microsoft, they still have supporters. Google seems to be pushing everyone away.

    I admit, I still use gmail...but searches? I'm not sure anymore. I get more cialis results when I search online... :(

  13. Fred

    Google's position is not alone misleading, but deliberately so

    DG Justice, Liberty and Security of the European Commission wrote the Data Retention Directive and is responsible for implementation of the Data Protection Directive. It is therefore simply ridiculous to try to teach that part of the Commission what the Data Retention means! It is inconceivable that Google does not know this.

  14. Aubry Thonon

    ... can't... resist...

    Does this mean that Google is being datal retentive?

    I'll go fetch me coat now, yerlordship.

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