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Yahoo Promises To Anonymize and Limit User Data 76

quarterbuck writes "While Google is saying that personalization is the key to search, Yahoo is taking a different view of the topic. Yahoo announced plans to retain user data for no longer than 90 days and to anonymize data. Even if Yahoo is not your favorite search engine, it is a good move in the direction of online privacy if it will force others to follow suit." Reader Mike adds "Yahoo did say, however, that it will keep some data for up to six months for security and fraud reasons, as part of some 'specific and limited exceptions.'"
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Yahoo Promises To Anonymize and Limit User Data

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  • by dsvick ( 987919 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @02:52PM (#26149027) Homepage
    I think some people get up in arms about this without realizing that, in many cases, the "personal" data being kept isn't really personal anyway. It is their search and browsing history, their clicks and the sites they've visited. It's not necessarily anything personal about that them the site doesn't already have on file for it's users.

    Yahoo is still keeping the user's name, contact info, preferences, favorites, and other items, just as is Google, MSN, and any other online service/portal you sign up for. What they aren't keeping (after 90 days), or rather are not associating with the individual user, is the information that they could/did use to target advertising to the user.

    Google is retaining it and probably charging more, or at least getting a better response rate, for their advertising because of it.

    Given the way things are now I don't see how anyone could have the expectation that anything you do on the web could possible be anonymous. Just browsing a site takes your request through any number of different systems any one of which could be logging the information and using for who know what. At least with the Googles, and the Yahoos you have a reasonable idea of what they are keeping and how they are using it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @03:20PM (#26149419)

    "...I'm no big fan of Microsoft, but at least they never owned any private data on me...."

    Interesting, I guess you never registered Microsoft products, applied for the money back from Microsoft for the Microsoft tax, used Windows Search, or Windows Live, MSN, Windows update, and the like. And never use sites like Digg that use ads sold by Microsoft. (Both MSN and Microsoft Live seem to ask for access to my machine when on Digg the other night...according to NoScript.) Good for you!

    When Microsoft buys Yahoo, won't Yahoo's info become Microsoft's? What's their policy/practice with private data?

  • by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @04:02PM (#26150021) Journal
    See, this issue confounds me. I can understand people wanting their information to be private, but at the same time if you don't want that information on the Internet, don't give it to them.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.