The NSA Will Be Upset About This

Google to erase information on billions of internet searches
Bobbie Johnson, technology correspondent
Thursday March 15, 2007
The Guardian

Google will erase personal information on billions of internet searches in an attempt to secure the privacy of its users, the company has announced.

The search engine, which is being sued for $1bn by the media company Viacom for alleged copyright infringement, said it would destroy huge tracts of identifying information it holds on internet searches. Information such as who made what search and when is kept “for as long as useful” but under the new policy, all identifying data will be erased after 18-24 months.

Peter Fleischer, a lawyer for Google, said: “We believe that privacy is one of the cornerstones of trust. We will be retroactively going back into our log database and anonymising all the information there.”

UK organisations are legally bound to hold such data for at least a year to allow police to trawl through it if they need access. Mr Fleischer said requests for information from governments and law enforcement were a “routine matter” but denied that the new policy was specifically intended to prevent government access to private information.

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