Google to purge personal data from logs.
In a significant change to company policy, Google announced late yesterday it will begin systematic purges of personally identifying data from its search logs at least 18 months after it's collected. The move could quash some consumers' -- and some governments' -- concerns about its intentions to harvest its now-colossal database of personal information.
"We had previously kept the logs data for as long as it was useful," reads an FAQ about the policy change published by Google yesterday. "When we implement this policy change, we will continue to keep server log data so that we can improve Google's services and protect them from security and other abuses, but we will anonymize our server logs after 18-24 months, unless legally required to retain the data for longer."
"Anonymization" in this case, according to Google, consists not of deleting files but of changing entries in records so that fields linking searches to IP addresses or to individuals become unusable.