Microsoft Reduces Bing's Hold on User Data
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eSecurity Planet takes a look at changes soon to hit Microsoft's Bing search engine. The major search players' differing policies on the length of time they retain user data -- useful for advertising and research purposes -- have long been a source of criticism for consumer advocates. Now Microsoft is relaxing its policies and, in the process, could be adopting a more privacy-friendly stance than market leader Google.
In a nod to persistent concerns about online privacy, Microsoft has committed to delete the Internet Protocol addresses associated with users' queries on its Bing search engine after six months.
Like the other major search engines, Microsoft has come under pressure from privacy advocates and government regulators to purge its server logs of information such as IP addresses that could be used to identify individual users.
Microsoft one-ups Google with its announcement, however, as it will now delete the entire IP address, a piece of data assigned by Internet service providers that is sometimes described as the online version of a telephone number. Google retains a portion of the string of numbers that comprise an IP address, though it says that that snippet is anonymized, meaning it cannot be used to arrive at the identity of the user.