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More Privacy for Yahoo Users

Cord Blomquist, of Technology Liberation Front, writes that Internet giant Yahoo has changed its data retention policy to anonymize user-behavior information after three months, 10 months less than the previous 13-month retention period. According to this story from the Washington Post, Yahoo's new policy responds to consumer demand for greater privacy protection, as well as pressure from regulators in both the United States and the European Union.

While you'd expect these more privacy-protective policies to continue, and perhaps even expand under the new Obama administration, Blomquist isn't sure that's the case. Even back in 1999, before heightened fears over use of the Internet by terrorist groups, Eric Holder, Obama's nominee for Attorney General, stated that in some cases privacy laws must be changed to "recognize new technological realities" and that "certain data must be retained by ISPs" for law enforcement purposes. Blomquist believes that data retention policies should be a matter for Web companies and consumers to decide, though ultimately, regulators will likely have the final say.

What's your view? How much of your privacy are you willing to give up in exchange for your ability to use Internet sites? And as a user, what kinds of rights do you have, if any, to learn the identity of anonymous commenters or bloggers who engage in defamatory comments?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on December 18, 2008 at 01:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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