In what could be a pre-emptive move to the planned legislative advocacy push of some privaty advocates in putting some government pressure to the data retention and online advertising practices of major Internet players, Yahoo pushed ahead and announced that it is reducing the time it retains search related data and information to 90 days.
Whereas before, Yahoo was second only to Google’s 9-months data retention policy, it now becomes the most restrictive in terms of retaining search logs, followed by Google with 9 months and Microsoft still keeping its search logs for 18 months.
For this move, Yahoo has already earned the praises of Massachusett Representative Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, who also urged other Internet players to follow or even beat Yahoo’s data retention policy.
Yahoo’s new data retention policy also dictates that the search engine would delete the last eight bits of the IP addresses being associated to a search query after 90 days. Additionally, Yahoo will start hiding search-related cookie data to fully anonymize search queries after 90 days. Hence ensuring the Yahoo will not use identifiable data and information of searchers beyong the 90 days grace period. Likewise, the data retention policy would also apply to other datas gathered online by Yahoo such as page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks.
The next question now is – will Google and Microsoft follow Yahoo’s steps? Microsoft has announced recently that it is willing to amend its data retention policy if both Yahoo and Google will do the same. Will Microsoft do the same now that Yahoo has announced its plan to reduce its data retention limit?