Yahoo Cuts Data Retention for 3 Months

December 17th, 2008 at 12:00 am

yahoo security privacy policy

Yahoo announced today that they will be changing their global policy on data retention.  They claim that this will strengthen their users’ trust in them and enhance their longtime leadership in privacy.

The new data-retention policy states that Yahoo will only keep user data for a maximum of 90 days instead of 13 months. Exceptions to this rule will apply to fraud, security and legal reasons.  Yahoo will also expand the policy to apply not only to search log data but also page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks.

"In our world of customized online services, responsible use of data is critical to establishing and maintaining user trust," said Anne Toth, Yahoo!’s Vice President of Policy and Head of Privacy. "We know that our users expect relevant and compelling content and advertising when they visit Yahoo!, but they also want assurances that we are focused on protecting their privacy."

The decision comes from Yahoo’s review of their data practices around the world.  It turns out that 90 days or 3 months is the minimum time Yahoo needs to keep user information on their system to conduct business.  "This policy represents Yahoo!’s assessment of the minimum amount of time we need to retain data in order to respond to the needs of our business while deepening our trusted relationship with users," continued Toth. "We’re proud this new policy sets a new benchmark for the industry."

However, as mentioned, Yahoo will be retaining data for more than three months in cases of fraud, security issues and legal obligations.

Aside from the Yahoo-conducted review of their data practices, the change in policy has also been influenced by the release of the survey results of the Ponemon Institute and TRUSTe on the Most Trusted Companies for Privacy.  Yahoo came in at rank 14 overall and the top search engine on the list.

Yahoo claims that the change in policy will not drastically affect user experience and without the announcement, probably nobody will notice any changes at all.