Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yahoo to Anonymize User Data After 90 Days

In a hostile environment such as the internet where identity can be stolen, children harassed by sexual predators, and where acquiring viruses is as easy as one click, safety and comfort is commodity that must not be taken for granted. And with passing day the U.S. government is taking steps to make the internet a safe place. Due to reforming laws regarding kept data, last December Yahoo!, an internet giant where millions entrust valuable information, announced they will anonymize user data after just three months. At first glance this may not seem like a huge step forward, yet in comparison Yahoo! is truly ahead of the game. Competitors such as Google and Microsoft keep data to your name for 18 months. This means any searches, credit card numbers, and social security numbers passed through either site could be retrieved a year and half after you innocently typed them in. In a volatile and insecure environment this is frightening, especially since data collection of that magnitude could be lost easily.

By removing the last two numbers of the users internet protocol address (IP) it removes the unique ID to that users computer. These steps taken by Yahoo! to remove your IP address from your history on the site means safer searches and less need to worry about identity theft. Yahoo! is hoping to steal internet users from the other giants by ensuring this increased safety. This move has prompted talk of standardizing the way logs are anonymized to provide a safer overall internet experience. However, some feel that this move is not enough and Yahoo!’s steps are flawed and easily reversible. But, hey, it has to start somewhere. Right?


-Chris Saksa

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