Feeds

Google: Keep user data safe by letting us hoard it forever

Fleischer demands EU trust Google

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Google has sought to turn its China crisis to its advantage by arguing it demonstrates why it should be allowed to hang onto search logs indefinitely.

Privacy supremo Peter Fleischer told ComputerWorld in an interview that, "The unprecedented hacking... and the threat of similar such attacks in the future emphasized the importance of internal analysis of logs."

Google has been under particular pressure in Europe to stick a time limit on how long it hangs onto information that can be used to identity searchers.

In 2008 it halved the time it hung onto such info to nine months, a cut that still did not find favour with Eurocrats. It continues to hold data beyond that date, but says it does not hold the full IP address of users, effectively anonymizing the data, but still making it useful to the world's largest ad broker.

Microsoft has upped the ante by lowering the amount of time it hangs onto data about Bing users to six months. Which would be significant if anyone used the service.

"We find it reprehensible that a company would throw away useful data when it holding it poses no privacy threat," Fleischer thundered.

Which illustrates how Google's view of privacy differs from many other people's, and ignores the possibility of the data becoming a privacy (and/or security) threat if it fell into the hands of, say, Chinese hackers.

Fleischer also called for the creation of an EU panel featuring data protection and cyber security experts. This demand will be part of a submission to Europe's Article 29 committee on data protection, in which it will also rule out any further reduction in the amount of time it holds onto data.

This could presumably mean Fleischer spending even more time in Brussels. In December 2008 he was asked to join an EU quango which would advise on future data protection legislation.

Of course, Fleischer's not the only one who believes that the best way to preserve security (and sell a few ads as well) is by hoarding every bit of information a user generates. This is the same principle behind the UK government's Interception Modernisation Program. Except for the ads flogging bit.

We asked Google if it could add anything more to Fleischer's comments, or confirm if he was still serving on the data protection panel. They're still holding onto that data. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?