Germany's data protection commissioner, Peter Scharr, leads the EU group preparing a report on how well the privacy policies of Internet search engines operated by Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others comply with EU privacy law.
He told a European Parliament hearing on online data protection that when someone is identified by an IP, or Internet protocol, address "then it has to be regarded as personal data."
His view differs from that of Google, which insists an IP address merely identifies the location of a computer, not who the individual user is — something strictly true but which does not recognize that many people regularly use the same computer terminal and IP address.
Of course Google believes differently. Feh. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.