Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

Yahoo released a beta of a tool, Ad Interest Manager, designed to be a transparent user dashboard for privacy. It works. Yahoo has everything from your surfing habits to your operating system to your screen resolution.

Yahoo released a beta of a tool, Ad Interest Manager, designed to be a transparent user dashboard for privacy. It works. Yahoo has everything from your surfing habits to your operating system to your screen resolution.

The tool gives users a one-stop shop to opt out of ad categories (statement). As Yahoo notes on its overview:

To make our ads more relevant and useful for you, we make educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on Yahoo!’s sites and services. Some of the ads we show you reflect these interests. You can opt out of interest-based advertising altogether using the tools on this page.

Here's what it looks like:

As noted by Kara Swisher, Yahoo's Ad Interest Manager lands just as the Federal Trade Commission holds hearings on privacy. The FTC on Monday will talk data retention, disclosure practices and targeting. Meanwhile, the Microsoft-Yahoo deal, which was finalized last week, is now up for regulators to review.

Simply put, the new privacy tool will give Yahoo something to talk about with the Feds. However, the tool could be handy. To wit:

  • I didn't know what categories I was lumped into;
  • Seeing my surfing habits in a dashboard was a little creepy even though it's clear Yahoo has all of that stuff anyway (I use Yahoo for three things: Finance, Fantasy Football and Mail);

  • And Yahoo's Ad Interest Manager detailed my IP address, OS, browser, screen resolution, age range and gender. Not sure why, but the fact Yahoo had my screen resolution was a bit odd.

Overall though I appreciate the transparency even if it does seem a wee bit creepy and I'm likely to opt out of some categories.

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