Web and app activity, including a log of website searches and pages visited, as well as location data, will now be wiped after 18 months. The changes apply to new accounts only but existing users will soon be shown new prompts to adjust their settings.
This may sound like Google being more respective of data protection and people’s privacy, but the announcement comes as Google and other big technology companies’ data-collection efforts and business practices face increased scrutiny from data protection regulators both in the USA and Europe.
In fact, one of the GDPR data protection principles is data minimisation, which means organisations must ensure the personal data they are processing is limited to what is necessary – you do not hold more than you need for that purpose. Another is storage limitation – you must not keep personal data for longer than you need it.
Many organisations don’t seem to know that, or choose to ignore it for business purposes. But that often means operating in a way that’s barred by the GDPR. And that’s asking for trouble.