Worries about Google's reach and the amount of information it gathers about its users spurred the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to open an investigation into the company's proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick. That investigation was prompted by a privacy complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Centre, the Centre for Digital Democracy, and the US Public Interest Research Group.
Addressing the importance of privacy in Seoul, Schmidt said ultimate control over personal information still rested with users. "Google is careful to make everything a user choice," he said, noting users who want to protect their personal information can choose not to use Google's services.
For users who opt to share their data with Google, Schmidt promised the company does not hold on to this information indefinitely. "We only retain this information for a specific amount of time," he said, without saying how long such data is stored.