Yahoo cuts data retention times

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Yahoo cuts data retention times

In an attempt to bolster trust with its users, Yahoo has revamped its global data retention policy, promising to anonymise user log data within 90 days, half the period stipulated by the EU.

The company added that the new policy will apply to page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks as well as search log data, but also said that there would be exceptions when forced to keep the information for fraud, security or legal reasons.

"In our world of customised online services, responsible use of data is critical to establishing and maintaining user trust," said Anne Toth, vice president of policy and head of privacy at Yahoo.

"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."

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 still holds on to the data for nine months.

According to Yahoo, the move follows a comprehensive review of its data practices across the globe working with privacy and data governance teams to examine the data needs for global products and services.

The company reckons the new limit will still allow it to provide the same level of service to users and advertisers while maintaining the ability to fight fraud, secure systems, and meet legal obligations.

"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," added Toth.

However, there are a few provisos added to this new policy. In the case of potential fraud and system security issues, Yahoo will retain system specific data in identifiable form for no more than six months, and the search engine admits it may have to retain some data for longer periods to meet other legal obligations.

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