Yahoo to Hold Search Data For Just 90 Days

19 December 2008

SUNNYVALE, California: Yahoo is to cut the amount of time it retains user data linked to web searches, page views and ad clicks from 13 months to just 90 days, in a bid to attract new users and fend off pressure from regulators and privacy campaigners. 

The company will now remove or "scramble" data traceable to individual users, including names, addesses and internet protocol addresses – which are central to the transfer of information between computers and the web – after 90 days. 

Anne Toth, the company's vice president of policy, said this would "take the issue off the table", and hopefully encourage increased usage levels among web users concerned about privacy.

Google currently retains information pertaining to searches for a minimum of nine months, while Microsoft stores such data for 18 months. 

Pressure to change these policies has come from the European Commission and the US Congress, where Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, spoke out in support of Yahoo's decision.

Markey's rallying call reads: "I urge other leading online companies to match or beat the commitments announced by Yahoo."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff