By Nate Anderson | Published: October 11, 2007 – 12:30PM CT
“We have written to Google to say that we are continuing our work, that it is not limited to Google, and that we will adopt an opinion at the beginning of 2008,” an unnamed official told Reuters after the most recent working group meeting. “We want to adopt a comprehensive opinion, saying how long they can keep data, and which ones.”
Google has its own ideas about this. It would love to keep data forever, only anonymizing it after two years or so. Europe thinks two years might be too long, and the inquiry has already prompted Google to voluntarily anonymize data after only 18 months instead.
Google is also under examination by a different part of the European Commission after it announced plans to merge with DoubleClick. That move is being evaluated by the Commission, which looks set to pursue an in-depth inquiry into the deal. The Article 29 report could well be released just as the Commission finishes up looking at the deal. Though the reports are technically unrelated, both will deal with the issue of Google’s massive data retention and so could provide fodder for critics of the company.