Google, Microsoft to Start Scrubbing Search Data Sooner?

I've always liked the idea of maximizing anonymity when it comes to storage of people's Web searches. Jeremy Kirk's IDG News Service piece brought some good news about Yahoo. Apparently they've decided they're going to drastically cut down the amount of time they retain people's Web search data; they'll anonymize the data after three months instead of their previous 13-month retention.

I understand how demographics are important to businesses that collect search engine data, but I don't see how being able to pinpoint a user's IP address and ISP is really necessary. General geographic data should be enough to satisfy their quality control issues.

Good too is that now Google and Microsoft will find it necessary to follow suit and make some reductions of their own. According to Kirk, right now they're both keeping data for 18 months.

I have to agree with the data protection officials from the 27 countries in the European Union - even they recommend that search engines discard data after six months.

This article originally appeared as a blog post on our sister site, Computerworld.com.

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