Yahoo will anonymize user data after 90 days; Ups privacy ante

Yahoo will anonymize user data after 90 days; Ups privacy ante

Summary: Yahoo said Wednesday that it will makes its user logs anonymous within 90 days as it ups the ante on data retention policies.In a statement (Techmeme), Yahoo said it would also make user data on page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks anonymous as well as its user logs.

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Yahoo said Wednesday that it will makes its user logs anonymous within 90 days as it ups the ante on data retention policies.

In a statement (Techmeme), Yahoo said it would also make user data on page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks anonymous as well as its user logs. The only exceptions would be for "fraud, security and legal obligations."

Clearly, Yahoo, Google and others are racing to the bottom on data retention policies.  In particular, Google and Yahoo have been playing a game of privacy leapfrog.

In September, Google said it would make its user logs anonymous after 9 months, a vast improvement over its previous 18-month policy. Google, which was pressured by regulators, said that 9 months was a good balance between "sometimes conflicting factors like privacy, security and innovation." In July 2007, Yahoo went with a 13 month purge policy.

Anne Toth, Yahoo's head of privacy, said that 90 days was the minimum time it needed to retain user data for business purposes. Yahoo reached that conclusion after a review of its data policies across the globe and consulting business, engineering, governance and product teams.

As for the exceptions Yahoo said:

To protect users and our business partners, there will be some specific and limited exceptions to the anonymization policy. In order to fight fraud and preserve system security, Yahoo will retain system specific data in identifiable form for no more than 6 months -- but only for this purpose. Yahoo may have to retain data for longer periods to meet other legal obligations.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google, Legal

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9 comments
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  • Take that, you Gmail users

    This is very good news. With people trusting the "cloud" more and more, it is a relief to find some more emphasis on privacy. Of course, this is nothing when you consider how many people are giving their whole lives to Google.

    Think about it. They store all your searches, your emails, your contacts, your calendars, increasingly your documents. There is no security agency in the world that knows more about you. Just wait til they get hacked, or sold.

    Since most of the Google services have been offered by Yahoo for years, and there are others offering similar services, it makes more sense to spread your use of the web around, if you really want to commit your whole life to other people's servers.
    jorjitop
    • of course!

      Hah, Google will get even larger, collect even more data, then hit a slump and the government will bail them out in exchange for complete access to all the data that google has...

      Not sure if I want to put a smiley here or a shudder!
      ridingthewind
  • RE: Yahoo will purge user data after 90 days; Ups privacy ante

    A good start. What about www.webcrawler.com, which searches Yahoo, Google, Ask(Jeeves), and MSN Live Search all at once?

    God Bless,
    Dan P.
    Dan_P
  • RE: Yahoo will purge user data after 90 days; Ups privacy ante

    Not a very big thing if Yahoo has only 90 days to live... :-)
    tburzio
  • I hope and trust

    that [b]Google[/b] will here follow [b]Yahoo[/b]'s lead, not because the firm wishes to do so (anymore than [b]Yahoo[/b] desired to reduce the length of time it retained primary data), but because user pressure will force the move. What [b]Google[/b] must guard against is assuming that it is too large to fall - a recent events show, others have made similar assumptions to their cost....

    Henri
    mhenriday
  • Sounds good. But how bout fixes to the services?

    This is a nice step. However, I really want Yahoo to fix their screwed up services. The chatrooms are full of bots and sex ads. Same with the user groups. Its frustrating to use messenger's or anything else. What Yahoo needs to do is purge all these bots, cam girls, and spammers. Get their services clean, usable, and relevant. That would be the biggest reason users are flocking away from Yahoo.
    Solid Jedi Knight
  • How to verify they walk the walk?

    We have no way to tell.
    LBiege
  • immaterial

    As "government" siphons off all data at the backbone level these moves are somewhat moot. Of course a unique data set arises from using google, yahoo and the rest, but if I wanted to violate your privacy I'd do what the "government" does, rather than hit up a search engine for a small amount of random data.

    I've used scroogle scraper since it was launched. I can't recommend them enough:

    www.scroogle.org (link to scraper on front page, check 'em out...)
    pgit
  • RE: Yahoo will purge user data after 90 days; Ups privacy ante

    I wouldn't trust anything that comes from Yahoo after they turned in the Chinese journalist for voicing his opinions that were contrary to what the party line is in China, just to keep their pockets lined. May Yahoo die a slow and painful death and shame to all that use it.
    rexferal@...