EU Looking At Google User Data Retention

Google is being investigated by the European Union over possible violation of the bloc's privacy rules. At issue is the search engine's practice of retaining user information for up to two years.

A letter has been sent to the Mountain View, Calif. company by an independent panel which assists the EU in privacy issues. The inquiry has the full support of the European Commission, officials said.

Google says that it respects consumer privacy, however it must balance that with protecting itself and its users from fraud and abuse. It will respond before the panel's next meeting in June.

Privacy regulations are much stricter in the EU than they are here in the US. However, some are concerned with Google's practices here as well: the Federal Trade Commission has been asked to probe the DoubleClick merger for possible concerns.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups have asked that the merger be blocked until concerns over Google's data collection and storage are addressed.

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