Report: Yahoo, Microsoft to reveal Web search privacy policies

Financial Times reports Yahoo, Microsoft to reveal Web search data retention policies at urging of European Union group.

The Financial Times is reporting that Yahoo and Microsoft will update their privacy polices within the next few weeks and publicly reveal how long they plan to keep data on consumer Web searches.

The action was prompted by the work of a group called the Article 29 Working Party, which advises the European Union on privacy policy and has also been in discussions with Google, the article says.

Google's proposed $3.1 billion purchase of online ad firm DoubleClick is being scrutinized by the European Commission following complaints from consumer and privacy groups there and in the U.S. that a merged company would give Google access to an unprecedented amount of online consumer data.

Several months ago, Google changed its data retention policies, saying it would anonymize the final eight bits of the IP address and cookie data after 18 to 24 months, unless legally required to retain it for longer. The information on specific searches will be retained indefinitely, but the partial anonymization will make it much more difficult to tie the searches to specific individuals or computers.

So far, neither Yahoo nor Microsoft have publicly detailed their data retention policies. A Yahoo representative did not return e-mails seeking comment on Friday. A Microsoft spokeswoman had this to say: "We can't confirm that. Microsoft doesn't have any information to share at this time."

About the author

Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press. E-mail Elinor.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Tech industry's high-flying 2014
Uber's tumultuous ups and downs in 2014 (pictures)
The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
A roomy range from LG (pictures)
This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)