For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Monday, 7 April 2008

The Search Engine That Could ... but is it allowed to?

The IPKat has learned that a group of EU regulators -- the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party -- decided last Friday that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other internet search engine providers keep their user data too long. According to his friend Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg) these providers must cut the time they retain users' online records if they are to comply with European Union privacy laws.

Right: the Working Party might have an agreed position, but who will benefit from it the most?

Proposals have been unanimously adopted that may have the effect of compellinge search engines to change the way they store data unless there is "a valid justification" for their present practices. The recommended maximum time for keeping users' search data is six months. This reommendation could threaten the "golden goose" of internet advertising, which shamelessly uses customers' online records in order to offer personally targeted ads.

Says the IPKat, this sounds a bit of a mixed blessing. If older data is shed, presumably any search-engine ads that are directed at the consumer will be that much more focused at his or her most recent interests, which may have the effect of enhancing their value to advertisers -- and their nuisance value to targeted internet users.

The Little Engine That Could here
Thomas the Tank Engine here
The runaway train here

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