Feeds

EU data guardians: search engines must obey our rules

Which we will issue very soon now

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.