Posted July 23, 2007 9:38 am by with 1 comment

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Hot on the heels of Google and’s change to the way they handle private data, Microsoft and Yahoo have made similar announcements.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will delete data after 18 months and Yahoo after 13 months. In addition, Microsoft and Ask have issued statements urging the search engine industry to adopt a single standard for data retention.

You may wonder why Google, Yahoo, MSFT and are all of a sudden eager to change their data storage policies. The timing comes from a European review

Search engines are facing increased scrutiny in Europe over their privacy policies and how they use data to compete for users by offering more personalized services and targeted advertising. The European Union data protection agency is reviewing the privacy policies of Google and other search engines, including those of Microsoft and Yahoo! Inc.

The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, a group of EU data experts that advises the European Commission, started reviewing Google’s privacy policies earlier this year. Part of the group will meet in September to discuss search engines and privacy in general.

I’m amused by the fact that Ask and Microsoft are the ones calling for an industry-wide adoption of user privacy data storage, yet it was Google that took the first step. It’s one thing to ride another’s coattails, but don’t rip them off and claim they’re your own.