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Google versus Privacy

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2008 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , ,

“When we began anonymizing after 18 months, we knew it meant sacrifices in future innovations in all of these areas.”Official Google Blog

Now Google has had to start anonymising search engine data (i.e. our IP addresses) after 9 months. The Article 29 Working Party, an EU privacy regulators’ group, is still not happy, however and has called for data to be deleted after six months.

The Data Protection Act states that personal data should not be kept longer than is necessary. Addendum: According to Out-Law, there is some debate about whether IP addresses *are* personal data, but it seems like in the hands of internet service providers, they are, because ISPs have our names and addresses as well.

I am not sure why Google would need a specific IP address for search data for as long as 9 months. Why can’t they just generalise the information to look at what country the user comes from? That certainly isn’t inflammatory data. Although there seems to be a general trend towards having less privacy, I am not wrapping my head in tin foil just yet. Where is the Firefox Add-on to scramble our IP addresses, just to toy with confuse them?

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One Response to “Google versus Privacy”

  1. Yes, yes, toy with them! Google – “do as much evil as possible with a cutesy smile on your face while saying ‘evil, us, no, we’re lovable’ and offering free teddy bears for all”. There are larger questions here, the biggest being of course are we simply going to have to lump it and accept that privacy is no longer a basic human right (was it ever)? I was at Victoria station waiting for my train yesterday and I got to counting cctv cameras. Let’s just say that the train arrived before I ran out of cameras to count!

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