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Yahoo! jacks data retention from 90 days to 18 months

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Yahoo! is jacking up the amount of time it holds onto its log file data by a factor of six to 18 months.

The move, on the face of it, sets the firm on a collision course with the EU which sees six months as a perfectly adequate period of time to hold data, other than comms data.

The veteran dot com said the switcheroo was "to meet the needs of our consumers for personalization and relevance, while living up to their expectations of trust."

It went on: "Over the last three years, the way we and other companies offer services online and the way consumers experience the Internet has changed dramatically. So, we will keep our log file data longer than we have been – offering consumers a more robust individualized experience – while we continue our innovation in the areas of transparency and choice to protect privacy."

Yahoo! users thus mollified, the firm then rattles on about its previous efforts to set itself apart from other providers with its 90 day retention policy for most data, and its efforts to "minimize how much raw data we held".

It's only deep in the third dense para that it confirms: "We will hold raw search log files for 18 months and we will be closely examining what the right policy and time frame should be for other log file data."

It will begin notifying users over the next four to six weeks, and will kick in the new retention policy 30 days after this exercise has been completed.

Just what it expects to notify to the EU remains to be seen. The EU Data Protection directive currently being rolled out mandates the retention of a range of identifying data for mobile and internet telephony and email for up to 24 months - to mainly help in the battle against terror and crime. However, on the subject of search data and the like, it feels six months is more than long enough, and data should be anonymised after that.

We've asked Yahoo! how its policy change squares with the EU position, and will let you know what, if anything, it says. ®

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