Microsoft joins the search privacy parade

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Redmond (WA) – Microsoft has joined its search engine competitors by vowing to eliminate user information from searches after 18 months.  All searches on Microsoft’s Live Search sites will have users’ cookie ids, IP addresses and other identifying information removed, unless the user consents to keep the data.

Microsoft’s Chief Privacy Strategy, Peter Cullen, said the new policy will help customers trust that their information “is being used appropriately” and adds “anonymous should mean anonymous”.

The changes will be worldwide and take effect immediately and retroactively, according to Microsoft.  Search competitors Google and Ask.com recently announced similar 18 month terms for eliminating user data from searches.  Ask.com also unveiled its “Ask Eraser” which immediately, err erases, information.

Microsoft also announced that it will adopt NAI (Network Advertising Initiative) standards and let users opt out of specialized ad targeting by its advertising service.