Yahoo to anonymize data after three months

Wed 17 December 2008 21:14, Bas van den Beld

Yahoo to anonymize data after three months

After Google and Microsoft now Yahoo has announced that it will shorten the time before its anonymizes their logs from 13 to three months. The announcement was made by Yahoo today.

The decision comes after regulators in both Europe and the US put the pressure on search engines to reduce the time they would store data.

Yahoo makes this move to build trust with their users and to differentiate itself  from its competitors. Anne Toth, Yahoo!'s vice president of policy and head of privacy, tried to point at the trust-issue in her statement: "Responsible use of data is critical to establishing and maintaining user trust," she said. "Our users expect relevant and compelling content and advertising when they visit Yahoo!, but they also want assurances that we are focused on protecting their privacy.”

Competitors Google and Microsoft made decided to shorten the amount of time they retain data before Yahoo did, but wouldn’t go as far as Yahoo. Google announced in September it would retain data for nine months, where before it was 18 months. Microsoft also keeps the data for 18 months but announced last week it would go back to six months, but only if others would do the same.

Yahoo is not going to anonimyze all the data. It states "Under the new policy, Yahoo! will anonymise user log data within 90 days with limited exceptions for fraud, security and legal obligations,". With this line Yahoo gives itself the possibility to store data longer if they feel there is a need, with a limit of six months.

Search engines say the storage of data is necessary to improve the search results. They also use the data to deliver more targeted ads and to identify trends in searching.

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