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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Google To Better Anonymize Server Logs

Google just announced they’ll be starting to implement a process that will anonymize their server logs after 18-24 months. Server logs carry IP addresses, and those can be retroactively attached to specific people if you combine them with data that an ISP may hand out. Google says they do so to better protect the user privacy, writing:

After talking with leading privacy stakeholders in Europe and the U.S., we’re pleased to be taking this important step toward protecting your privacy. By anonymizing our server logs after 18-24 months, we think we’re striking the right balance between two goals: continuing to improve Google’s services for you, while providing more transparency and certainty about our retention practices.

This part from Google’s FAQ on the new policy [PDF] is noteworthy:

How many subpoenas for server log data does Google receive each year?
As a matter of policy, we don’t provide specifics on law enforcement requests to Google.

Yowza, almost sounds like they’re trying to send a subtle message here... after all, by law they’re not allowed to disclose certain government queries for user data.

If you don’t like Google’s new approach, give *cough* Patriot Search *cough* a try...Google To Better Anonymiz ... by Philipp Lenssen | Comments (13)


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