Microsoft To Flush European Search Engine Data After Six Months

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it will discard withholding of internet search related information in Europe in the coming six months, but only after its competitors, notably Google and Yahoo, agree to the principle of search anonymisation.

The software giant has endorsed European Commission’s guidelines for ‘search anonymisation’ that urge search engines not to keep crucial search data, such as IP addresses and other information from tracking cookies.

The guidelines, were introduced in April, and created by European Commission’s Data Protection Party under Article 29, comprising members from 27 member states.

Commenting upon the conformation to EC guidelines on search data anonymisation, Microsoft’s VP for EU affairs, John Vassallo said in a statement, “Today, Microsoft has announced that we are prepared to meet the Article 29 Working Party’s search anonymisation guidelines, but believe it is imperative that all search companies adopt the same standard to truly protect people’s privacy”.

Microsoft’s lone acting on the search privacy directives wouldn’t serve the purpose at all, as the company holds a nominal 2 percent share in European search market, which is currently being dominated by Google with a whopping 80 percent share.

Though Google has also announced to drop its retention time in September, but the period of nine months mentioned by it doesn’t match EU standards.

The guidelines were released in the wake of concerns of search privacy advocates, who warn that the search engine information can disclose a huge amount of data about any person, and is usually retained by companies for too long.