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EU says Google may be violating privacy laws

Google anonymous dataThe European Union's data protection advisory group sent a letter to Google this month asking why the company keeps records of user searches for up to two years.

The underlying issue here is whether Google and other search engines are violating users' privacy rights by maintaining search records, even if those records are used to improve the user experience by offering personalized search options. European Union investigators are also looking at the way Yahoo! and Microsoft store data.

Google is well aware that there are privacy concerns associated with its retention of search data, and is taking steps to anonymize data that is kept for more than 18 to 24 months. In other words, for about two years, the company will be able to track a particular user's search results. After that, the data will still be available, but there will be no way to associate it with a specific user.

Tags: EU, european union, EuropeanUnion, news, privacy, search data, search engine, SearchData, SearchEngine