Monday, July 23, 2007

Microsoft Announces Enhanced Privacy Protections for Customers

Microsoft Announced an enhanced set of privacy principles for Live Search and online advertising data collection, use and protection. Microsoft's intention is to
"implement new privacy features and practices as it continues to develop its online services and offer new controls that help users manage the types of communications they receive from Microsoft."
I selected some of the key features from the announcement that caught my attention. For example, later this year, Microsoft plans to offer advertising services to third-party Web sites. Under the enhanced privacy, customers will have the ability to opt out of the behavioral ad targeting by Microsoft’s network-advertising service on those Web sites.

There will be specific policies around search query data and Microsoft will be explicit with customers about how long the company retains search terms in an identifiable way as well as informing people when and how to “anonymize” such data.

Following Google and others, Microsoft will make all Live Search query data anonymous after 18 months, unless the company receives user consent for a longer time period. According to the announcement, the policy will be both retroactive and worldwide. It will include removal of cookies and IP Address connected with search terms.

Another important feature change is the storage of store Live Search service search terms separately from account information. With so many "Live" features requiring a Hotmail/Live email address, it is reassuring the personal data associated with that account will not be tied to other services.

See the Press Announcement for complete information.

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