Google promised to step up its privacy protection yesterday, after European officials rebuked the search giant for storing data that could reveal political opinions, religious beliefs, and sexual preferences. Google will limit the amount of time it retains user data to 18 months and will "radically design" its cookie system, reducing their expiration time from 30 years to as low as 2.
Google altered its security setup only 4 months ago after taking flak from a group of privacy officials who advise the EU. But the inspectors demanded more changes yesterday, just as a top watchdog group released a report ranking Google worst in privacy out of 23 major sites. Now the company is doing damage control, say analysts, trying to ensure customers will still buy its corporate motto: "Don't be evil."