Yahoo is hoping to bolster trust among its users by announcing it will anonymize the data it collects about their web searches after just three months. The move is a notable improvement over the previous 13 months standard and could put further pressure on competitors amid mounting concerns from privacy advocates.
Yahoo said it will anonymize the data not just on searches but also page and ad clicks and views. It also reserved the right to retain some system specific data in identifiable form for no more than 6 months in order to “fight fraud and preserve system security.” Just what effect the new policy will have for Yahoo in terms of usage is debatable, especially considering search companies have long argued that retaining such data is necessary to improve the quality of their services, but at the very least this latest move is another step in the right direction towards greater privacy.
Recently Microsoft announced that it would fall in line with EU regulation and reduce the retention time of search information to just six months, while Google earlier this year halved the amount of time it stores personal data to nine months.