Microsoft is making some updates to Bing privacy. The company sent a letter to the Article 29 Working Party, notifying them of its intention to make a change to Bing's data retention policy. The company is reducing the amount of time it stores IP addresses from searchers to 6 months from 18.
"Generally, when Bing receives search data we do a few things: first, we take steps to separate your account information (such as email or phone number) from other information (what the query was, for example)," explains Bing Privacy Manager Reese Solberg. "Then, after 18 months we take the additional step of deleting the IP address and any other cross session IDs associated with the query."
"Under the new policy, we will continue to take all the steps we applied previously – but now we will remove the IP address completely at 6 months, instead of 18 months," he continues. "We think this gives us the right balance between making search better for consumers (we use the data to improve the service we offer) and providing greater protection for the privacy of our users."
The company considers this a "strong step forward" in the protection of customer privacy.
"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," says Microsoft Chief Privacy Strategist Peter Cullen.