[JURIST] EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Jacques Barrot [official website] on Thursday said Google [corporate website; JURIST news archive] is taking a "step in the right direction" by keeping data on search engine users for nine months rather than 18. Google announced the change [blog posting; Reuters report] this week "to address regulatory concerns" and protect users' privacy [JURIST news archive]. Barrot suggested that Google further reduce the retention period to the EU goal of six months. Google had reduced its retention period from 24 months last year after the European Commission announced it would investigate [JURIST reports] whether Google complies with EU privacy rules [EU Data Protection website]. AP has more.
Google called for new global regulations [JURIST report] last year to protect personal information online, noting that existing guidelines date back as far as 1980. Also in 2007, US privacy groups asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website; JURIST news archive] to block Google's acquisition of Internet advertising company DoubleClick over concerns that it would allow users' personal information to be matched with their usage history and habits. The FTC declined to oppose the merger, which European regulators also approved [CNet News reports]. The merger became final [blog posting] this March.