And here's a snip from the AP item:
Google Inc. is adopting new privacy measures to make it more difficult to connect online search requests with the people making them - a move it believes could prevent showdowns with the government over the often sensitive data.Link. Ryan Singel at Wired: 27bStroke6 has an extensive post on the story here.
Under revisions announced late Wednesday, Google promised to wrap a cloak of anonymity around the vast amounts of information that the Mountain View-based company regularly collects about its millions of users around the world.
Google believes it can provide more assurances of privacy by removing key pieces of identifying information from its system every 18 to 24 months. The timetable is designed to comply with a hodgepodge of laws around the world that dictate how long search engines are supposed to retain user information.
Authorities still could demand to review personal information before Google purges it or take legal action seeking to force the company to keep the data beyond the new time limits.
Nevertheless, Google's additional safeguards mark the first time that a major Internet search engine has spelled out precisely how long it will hold onto data that can reveal intimate details about a person's Web surfing habits.
Reader comment: quickie says,
This is hardly good news. Which country requires google to save usage data? Google could just keep the connection data and discard/anonymize to usage data instantly.Colm MacCarthaigh says,
Google's action is certainly to be applauded and welcomed, and hopefully sets an example that many will follow. Somewhat ironically though, European governments may soon be requiring Google to do the opposite. Google servers (including Google search and gmail servers) and Google's European headquarters are located in Ireland. Digital Rights Ireland is presently engaged in a legal battle to overturn the EU directive and Irish legislation which would require service providers (potentially including gmail and google talk) to store this data (and more) for 3 years. As ever, support is needed and welcome.