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Microsoft Bing to Forget Your IP After 6 Months

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments
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Microsoft is cutting the length of time it retains Bing user data to just six months.

Microsoft today announced that it is cutting the number of months it retains "the entire Internet Protocol address associated with search queries" to six months. This is down from the 18 months it takes under current policy.

The move follows Google's September '08 decision to reduce its 18-month data retention period to nine months and Yahoo!'s December '08 pledge to anonymize user data within 90 days.

"This change is the result of a number of factors including a continuing evaluation of our business needs, the current competitive landscape and our ongoing dialogue with privacy advocates, consumer groups, and regulators – including the Article 29 Working Party, the group of 27 European national data protection regulators charged with providing advice to the European Commission and other EU institutions on data protection, " Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft says the new time limit will come into effect over the next 12 to 18 months, adding that the core components of its policy will remain the same.

At present Microsoft's policy is as follows:

As soon as Microsoft receives a Bing search query we take steps to de-identify the data by separating it from account information that could identify the person who performed the search.  Then, at 18 months, we take the additional step of deleting the IP address, the de-identified cookie ID and any other cross-session IDs associated with the query.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    jonpaul37 , January 19, 2010 5:33 PM
    this is just creepy, i really see no benefit in keeping the IP Addresses. Like Microsoft really needs to know that i search "bootylicious"
  • 14 Hide
    Steven Bancroft , January 19, 2010 5:50 PM
    HonisIf you think that's creepy I hope you never find out how long Google keeps that information.


    Stated clearly in the article.

    "The move follows Google's September '08 decision to reduce its 18-month data retention period to nine months and Yahoo!'s December '08 pledge to anonymize user data within 90 days."
  • 10 Hide
    Honis , January 19, 2010 5:40 PM
    jonpaul37this is just creepy, i really see no benefit in keeping the IP Addresses. Like Microsoft really needs to know that i search "bootylicious"

    If you think that's creepy I hope you never find out how long Google keeps that information.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    jonpaul37 , January 19, 2010 5:33 PM
    this is just creepy, i really see no benefit in keeping the IP Addresses. Like Microsoft really needs to know that i search "bootylicious"
  • 2 Hide
    bin1127 , January 19, 2010 5:35 PM
    That's a lot of harddrives to keep 18 months of data. Good cost cutting measure.
  • 10 Hide
    Honis , January 19, 2010 5:40 PM
    jonpaul37this is just creepy, i really see no benefit in keeping the IP Addresses. Like Microsoft really needs to know that i search "bootylicious"

    If you think that's creepy I hope you never find out how long Google keeps that information.
  • 0 Hide
    RooD , January 19, 2010 5:41 PM
    Atleast they dont store MAC address
  • 7 Hide
    jhansonxi , January 19, 2010 5:46 PM
    Obviously there is no limit to their retention policy if the government wants them to keep track of you. This policy is just the default.
  • 14 Hide
    Steven Bancroft , January 19, 2010 5:50 PM
    HonisIf you think that's creepy I hope you never find out how long Google keeps that information.


    Stated clearly in the article.

    "The move follows Google's September '08 decision to reduce its 18-month data retention period to nine months and Yahoo!'s December '08 pledge to anonymize user data within 90 days."
  • 4 Hide
    huron , January 19, 2010 6:10 PM
    It's amazing to me that people use free search engines and don't think that the company on the other side might be their data to make a profit - who would have guessed?

  • 0 Hide
    festerovic , January 19, 2010 6:10 PM
    How are you not anonymous already? At best, google would only know what my ISP was, unless I was a criminal and my searches set off flags. Then the gov would like to see my IP, and THEY can get it traced. Google can't.

    Not scared.
  • 4 Hide
    jblack , January 19, 2010 6:11 PM
    RooDAtleast they dont store MAC address



    Maybe it is because they cannot get your Mac address?
  • 2 Hide
    IzzyCraft , January 19, 2010 6:23 PM
    jonpaul37this is just creepy, i really see no benefit in keeping the IP Addresses. Like Microsoft really needs to know that i search "bootylicious"

    Demographics and also tailoring searches just for you using the IP and cookies to keep track of what you like in a search.
  • 2 Hide
    windndust , January 19, 2010 8:43 PM
    For people who find tracking USAGE data (like google and microsoft do) troubling, consider this:

    Traffic engineers tracked YOUR data as you drove around. They tracked your USAGE data to optimize traffic intersections during busy hours for EVERYBODY. Tracking USAGE data is how ENGINEERS optimize their SERVICES to YOU.

    If you have a problem with tracking USAGE data, start with traffic engineers. Have them remove their optimizations for intersections. That way, you can live in bliss at the red light or trying to make a right turn.

  • -5 Hide
    climber , January 19, 2010 9:00 PM
    Google and Microsoft love to data mine, it won't be long before those companies are data mining our home computers, whether we like it or not. Imagine Microsoft saying as part of it's "end user licence agreement", that by installing our operating system on your computer you automatically authorize us storing a list of all file names, or more ominously all your files themselves, "as backups" on our servers. Gotta love the cloud huh?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 19, 2010 9:30 PM
    Kudos to Microsoft for this. Although I don't see why 6 months is needed.
    At least its better then Google. I am really beginning to dislike Google.
    They have way too much information and after the breach at their China facility I am less inclined to embrace their cloud products.
  • -3 Hide
    coopchennick , January 19, 2010 10:28 PM
    windndustFor people who find tracking USAGE data (like google and microsoft do) troubling, consider this:Traffic engineers tracked YOUR data as you drove around. They tracked your USAGE data to optimize traffic intersections during busy hours for EVERYBODY. Tracking USAGE data is how ENGINEERS optimize their SERVICES to YOU.If you have a problem with tracking USAGE data, start with traffic engineers. Have them remove their optimizations for intersections. That way, you can live in bliss at the red light or trying to make a right turn.


    This would be analogous to the search companies storing how many times you searched something. The difference is that they know what you search. It's not like the traffic engineers are listening in on your phone conversation when you pass the intersection.
  • 2 Hide
    marbasxx , January 19, 2010 10:47 PM
    use a vpn
  • 2 Hide
    windndust , January 19, 2010 11:43 PM
    @coopchennick

    in what other way can you optimize search queries if you don't know what people are searching for?

    your argument about traffic engineers listening to phone conversations doesn't quite relate. listening to phone conversations isn't related to traffic engineering and would indeed be morally wrong if this type of thing was happening. knowing what people search for to optimize search queries is related to tracking usage data.

    i understand the fear people have about data being tracked, especially if there is a chance it can be used against them or for the wrong purpose. I just don't understand why so much mistrust. Can't a company that's dedicated to providing a search engine track data so it can gain an edge or stay on top?
  • 0 Hide
    Honis , January 20, 2010 12:30 AM
    HonisIf you think that's creepy I hope you never find out how long Google keeps that information.
    Why hasn't this been rated to oblivion? Steven Bancroft clearly called me on my not reading the whole article.
    Steven BancroftStated clearly in the article."The move follows Google's September '08 decision to reduce its 18-month data retention period to nine months and Yahoo!'s December '08 pledge to anonymize user data within 90 days."

  • 0 Hide
    4trees , January 21, 2010 4:58 PM
    Interesting to know about all 3 search engines.

    Side note.... Bing sucks as a search engine. If you disagree let me know why I'd be curious.