Log-deleting search engine wins award

A search engine that deletes all data relating to users after 48 hours has been awarded the first privacy award of a European body set up to promote privacy. The award was presented by European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx.

"The only safe way of keeping someone's personal data is by deleting it," he said.

European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx has been a consistent opponent of larger search engines' policies of retaining search query data for up to 18 months. He said that the Privacy Seal was a good way to make it clear which companies have privacy friendly policies.

"The awarding of the first European Privacy Seal to the meta search engine Ixquick marks an important milestone to implement privacy on the World Wide Web and highlights this privacy-friendly service," said Hustinx.

"Customers and enterprises benefit from easy identification of an IT product as ensuring or enhancing European Data Protection rules in the processing of data," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the information society. "The award of the first European Privacy Seal to the meta-search engine Ixquick underlines that a balance between the open nature of the internet, providers' interests and the protection of personal data of internet users is possible."

Privacy watchdogs have been at loggerheads with Google in particular about the retention of search logs. Google has argued that it believes the Data Retention Directive orders it to keep the data, but a committee of EU data protection regulators said that it believed that the Directive applied only to telecoms companies and not to web content companies such as Google.