More and more the privacy of web surfers became a big concern. Not only for web surfers themselves but also for the service providers (ISPs, websites, etc).
One piece of the trail a web surfer leaves behind, as he navigates or uses web services, is the IP address.
This IP (Internet Protocol) is a tiny string of numbers like 126.96.36.199. There are millions of combinations! Every computer which gets on the Internet has this type of address which identifies each of them in the crowd (usually, assigned by the Internet Service Providers).
Most of the common users are not aware of this. However, that’s not the case of the service providers. Many of them use to get and store the IP addresses of the users so they could make their technology better, because the law requires them to, or just because that’s what they wanted.
Google used to retain the IP addresses indefinitely until the voice of privacy activists became too loud. Now it keeps that data for about 9 months. Yahoo keeps it even less: 3 months.
But one search engine (meta search engine, in fact) doesn’t keep it at all. That’s a Dutch search engine ixquick which became the first to operate in this way, according to The Register.
The Article 29 Working Party, which is a committee made up of the privacy watchdogs of the European Union’s 27 member states, said last year in a report on the issue that any company that kept logs for longer than six months risked falling foul of data protection laws.
See the details here (PDF file).
We salute the way ixquick approached this problem!