Microsoft said today that it will reduce the amount of tine it stores search data from 18 months to six months, a move that leaves Google as the only major search engine that hasn't met the latest demands of European privacy regulators, according to reports.
Microsoft's new policy will be implemented over the next 12-18 months, Microsoft VP John Vassallo said at a briefing in Brussels today.
Yahoo has already cut the time it stores data down to 90 days while Google cut its storage time to 9 months, a retention policy that represents "a responsible balance," Peter Dleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, said in a statement. He said:
Data from our search queries represents a crucial arm in our battle to protect the security of our services against hacks and fraud. We’re committed to using data to both improve our services and our security measures for our users and protect their privacy, and we remain convinced that our current logs retention policy represents a responsible balance.
In October, EU officials told the search engines that they must limit the amount of time they keep search records, a follow-up to concerns about data protection. They strongly recommended a period of six months or less.
It's also worth noting that Yahoo and Microsoft, which are now both in compliance, have entered into a 10-year search deal that's currently being scrutinized by European and U.S. regulators.