[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] said Friday that an independent advisory panel will investigate [press briefing] Internet search engine giant Google [corporate website] to determine whether it complies with EU privacy rules [EU Data Protection website]. The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party [official website], which advises the commission on data protection and privacy, drafted a letter to Google questioning the company's policy of retaining user information for up to two years. The letter was shown to Commission Vice President Franco Frattini [official website], who found the questions "appropriate and legitimate." The Working Party expects answers by early June, and next meets at the end of that month.
Last month numerous Internet privacy groups in the United States filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint [PDF text; JURIST report] against Google, following reports that the company was planning to buy Internet advertising company DoubleClick [corporate website]. The groups requested that the FTC block the proposed merger [agreement text; SEC press release] until the agency conducts an investigation, claiming that the merger would allow Google to match users' personal information with their Internet usage history and habits. AP has more.