Feeds

EU data guardians: search engines must obey our rules

Which we will issue very soon now

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

European gov data-privacy supremos have collectively said that search engines operating in their jurisdiction are governed by EU personal-data regs even if headquartered elsewhere.

The Article 29 Working Group, a committee of EU member state data protection chiefs, is expected to issue a full working paper on search engines "in the course of the next months".

However, after a meeting this week in Brussels, the group issued a short preliminary statement (pdf).

According to the assembled bureaucrats:

As the use of search engines becomes a daily routine for an ever growing number of citizens, the protection of the users’ privacy and the guaranteeing of their rights, such as the right to access to their data and the right to information as provided for by the applicable data protection regulations, remain the core issues of the ongoing debate.

Search engines fall under the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC if there are controllers collecting users’ IP addresses or search history information, and therefore have to comply with relevant provisions. These provisions also apply to such controllers who have their headquarters outside the EU, but only an establishment in one of the EU Member States, or who use automated equipment based in one of the Member States for the purposes of processing personal data.

So essentially the only way for a search engine to avoid compliance with the EU regs is to have neither offices nor hardware in Europe. Most of the major search providers have at least some such footprint in EU territory.

IP addresses - particularly when times are logged - can be tied to locations and often to individuals, and as such can be viewed as personal information. Exact details of the compliance regime are expected to appear in the full report.

Google told AP that "we look forward to seeing [the Article 29 Group's] report". Microsoft apparently said that a way for companies to comply would be to remove IPs from stored data. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.