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Web search groups to yield on privacy

Yahoo and Microsoft are preparing to announce concessions in their privacy policies in the next few weeks, as pressure mounts in Europe over the length of time internet search companies should be allowed to hold personal data.

The Article 29 Working Party, a group of national officials that advises the European Union on privacy policy, last month said it wanted to investigate how long companies such as Yahoo and Microsoft keep data on individuals who use their search engines.

Finally they are investigating other major search engine players and their policies as well. A level playing field and more privacy for the users is a good thing in general.

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Google-DoubleClick Deal Draws Criticism

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Europe's major consumer group BEUC said Wednesday that it feared Internet search engine Google Inc.'s takeover of online ad tracker DoubleClick Inc. would damage European Union privacy rights and limit consumers' choice of Web content.

Their plea to EU regulators comes after U.S. consumer privacy advocacy groups asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to look at how the two companies, when combined, would have access to an unprecedented amount of data on consumers' Web usage and Internet search habits.

Last I checked there was plenty of tools to prevent cookies and such (using a proxy for instance?). To me this sounds like a case of missing information and a need for education of the users. You can reject certain cookies, you can delete them (or even modify them yourself). As far as users not knowing their information would ultimately go to Google with a Double CLick buyout? 90% of them already use google, if they were so worried about them I am not sure you would see such high usage.

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Google threatens to shutdown Google Mail in Germany

Legislation drafted by Germany's Federal Ministry of Justice is being considered by the German Parliament. If passed, it would require telecommunications providers to collect and keep private information on their German customers for six months, in an effort to help with criminal surveillance. ISPs and providers of e-mail service would be required to collect and store information on users' mailing and internet habits and to do so in such a way as to identify individual web users.

Big brother is watching... or will be soon in Germany.

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