Yahoo! Appeases Privacy Advocates

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Yahoo! Appeases Privacy Advocates

Only last week we had reported that Yahoo! had said that they would store user data for a period of 13 months. In quite a sudden about-turn they have now decided to delete the personal data from their data bases in 3 months. After 3 months, all the user log data as well as data from page views, page clicks and ad views and clicks will be deleted.

For quite some time now, various organizations have been demanding that internet service providers cut down the amount of time for which they store user data, to protect the user’s privacy. They say the reduction of time for which such data is stored would make it difficult for hackers and other unethical people to infringe on the privacy of legitimate users.

This move by Yahoo! has obviously been welcomed by these organizations. In fact they now feel that it may even be possible for the service providers to further reduce the holding time of such data to 30 days without adversely affecting their business concerns.

Yahoo! says they have reached this decision after consulting their advertisers and a review of their data practices. These changes will be fully incorporated by 2010.

Their head of privacy, Anne Toth, says “this policy represents Yahoo!’s assessment of the minimum amount of time we need to retain data to respond to the needs of our business while deepening our trusted relationship with users.” Speaking to the FT, she also said this policy”will set a new standard for protecting consumer privacy.”

Yahoo! has however reserved the right to retain the data for 6 months in cases of fraud and litigation etc.

Earlier, Google had said they would store the data for 9 months, while Microsoft had agreed to store it for only 6 months if other service providers agreed to do the same.

They may now be forced to review their decisions.