|THE EUROPEAN Commission seems likely to order that IP addresses should be considered personal data, meaning it should be protected.
The move comes from a group of data privacy regulators and will directly impact outfits like Google which store IP addresses out of habit.
Germany's data protection commissioner, Peter Scharr admitted that IP addresses for a computer may not always be personal or linked to an individual.
But since the general rule is that typing in an IP address will generate a name for the person or company linked to it it should be protected, Scharr said.
If the move goes ahead Google will not be allowed to collect IP addresses in the EU and this has got them a little cross.
Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer told AP that his outfit only collects IP addresses to give customers a more accurate service. A person in Blighty will not wanted the same search results as a punter in Bangore.
Fleischer said that he needed to hang onto the address for two years after the search had taken place to improve Google's search results and prevent 'click fraud'.
Another lot who might find themselves in trouble from the ruling are the P2P pirate hunters who are not going to be able to harvest IP addresses and then get a court order for other details. If an IP address is 'personal data' it means that the pirate hunters will have to get a court order for that too.
More here. µ