Microsoft to put time limit on Bing search data

20 Jan 2010

Microsoft has bowed to pressure from European regulators and has agreed to put in place measures to discard all data collected on users of its search engine Bing.

The company said it will put in place the new measures to delete users’ IP addresses in the next 18 months.

The company outlined the changes in a letter to the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, a European privacy group seeking freedom, security and justice online.

The decision will affect all users of Bing around the world, including users in North America. The Bing search engine currently has a 3pc market share of the world’s search engines, while Google has 67pc of global market share.

At present, Bing takes search data and separates users’ account information, such as email addresses from non-personal information. Only after 18 months does it currently delete IP addresses.

The recent drama surrounding the hacking of Google’s network in China and the attempt to access Gmail account information has brought the issue of privacy and the protection of data to the fore.

Last week, McAfee said that a vulnerability in Internet Explorer played an important role in the recent attack against Google China, leading to European states France and Germany urging its citizens not to use Internet Explorer 6.

However, such fears were discounted yesterday by Imperva CTO Amichai Shulman, who said the attacks required network – not browser vulnerabilities.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years