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Data retention by search engines and Australian privacy law - August 2007

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Galexia Consultant, Sarah Andrews has recently written an article looking at the data retention regimes of search engines, and their effects under Australian privacy law.

Recent months have seen Google, the world’s most popular search engine, at the centre of controversy concerning the length of time it retains records of its users’ search queries. This is not the first time the practices of search engines have hit the headlines or attracted privacy watchdogs’ attention. Nor is Google alone among search engines in retaining users’ search queries for extended periods. The Google case does, however, provide a very useful illustration of the significance of data protection concerns raised by the retention of data on past searches and the importance for search engines of implementing robust privacy policies and practices.

The article, published in Volume 4 of the Privacy Law Bulletin, examines these issues from the perspective of Australian privacy law and suggests steps that search engines can take to ensure compliance with the law and promote trust among users.

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