Feeds

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

Fleischer demands EU trust Google

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.