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Google cuts data retention time in half

Under pressure from regulators in Europe, Google is drastically shortening the amount of time it retains users' Internet Protocol addresses, from 18 months to 9 months.

Under pressure from European regulators, Google is halving the amount of time its stores Internet Protocol addresses.

In a blog post, Google said it would keep IP addresses on its server logs for 9 months before anonymizing them, down from the 18 months it had previously stored the data.

A European Commission advisory body issued an opinion paper earlier this year urging search engines to delete data collected about their users after six months.

At the time, Google said the proposals could have an impact on its ability "to provide quality products and services for users, like accurate search results, as well as system security and integrity concerns."

Google filed a response to EU regulators (PDF) on Monday, saying in a blog post that "after months of work, our engineers developed methods for preserving more of the data's utility while also anonymizing IP addresses sooner."

Added Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel for Google: "We haven't sorted out all of the implementation details, and we may not be able to use precisely the same methods for anonymizing as we do after 18 months, but we are committed to making it work."

Google had introduced the 18-month policy in 2007.