Google Inc., owner of the world’s most popular search engine, may be violating the European Union’s privacy laws by storing information on customer queries for as long as two years, advisers to EU regulators told the company.
Google’s privacy counsel in Paris, Peter Fleischer, said the company received a letter this month from the EU’s data-protection advisory agency asking it to explain why records of user searches are retained.
The scrutiny of policies at Google, the gateway to the Internet for tens of millions of users, has increased since it announced plans in April to buy New York-based online advertiser DoubleClick Inc. for $3.1 billion. Regulators have said that competition among Google, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. to deliver ads to specific users may violate civil liberties.