Feeds

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

Fleischer demands EU trust Google

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.