Today we sent a letter to the Article 29 Working Party notifying them of our intention to make a change to Bing’s data retention policy.
Specifically, we are reducing the amount of time we store IP addresses from searchers to 6 months. Currently we keep that information for 18 months before we delete it. 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). 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. 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.
This is a strong step forward in our journey to protect the privacy of our customers while providing a great set of search tools. For additional details on this check out the blog post at Microsoft on the Issues.
Reese Solberg – Bing Privacy Manager