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Search engine Yahoo! Inc will cut to three months the time it stores personal data gathered from Web surfing, making its retention policy the shortest among peers, the company said on Wednesday.
The company will "anonymize" the computer addresses of its users within three months in most cases, from a prior standard of 13 months. It is reserving the right to keep data for up to six months if fraud or system security are involved.
"Google first went to 18 months and started this competition," said Ari Schwartz, vice president at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a privacy advocacy group.
Yahoo's pledge "is more significant because they are getting rid of some data after 90 days and they actually have an implementation plan to get this done," he added.
While it is still early days, I can't help but think that the next generation of successful players online are going to be those that treat the usage of personal information as if it were there own. As business is not a personal entity taking responsbility for the data is something that needs to come from the top.
Let's hope others follow suit.
[edited by: 2clean at 1:07 pm (utc) on Dec. 17, 2008]
Some queries can be pretty revealing, with or without an IP.
Wasn't it some of AOL's search data that got out where the user could be tracked all on their search query information, like the areas that they searched around (grocery stores, doctors, restaurants, etc...)?