Archive for January, 2011

Yahoo! Submits Public Comments on the Department of Commerce’s Green Paper on Internet Privacy

Monday, January 31st, 2011

In December 2010, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force distributed a Green Paper called, “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework” which details ‘initial policy recommendations aimed at promoting consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation and economic growth.’

We applaud the DoC and the paper as a whole, and Yahoo! appreciates having the opportunity to offer our filed comments to ensure that considerations from all interested parties, including Internet companies like Yahoo! are heard.

While I won’t go through every aspect of the comments we filed today, I will give you a general sense of the overall themes seen throughout our submission:

  • Self regulation backed by strong enforcement will play an important role in industry and policy decisions as we move forward.
  • The creation of voluntary, enforceable codes of conduct is the best way to balance a host of different and sometimes competing interests implicated by the privacy debate.
  • Although the “Do Not Call” registry has been successful, replicating that in the form of a “Do Not Track” mechanism is much more complex and has the potential to significantly disrupt users’ online experiences.
  • The continuation of a Fair Information Practices and Principles (FIPPs) based approach to Internet privacy will help us move forward, but we must recognize that not all information is the same and therefore cannot be treated as such.

As one of the Internet’s first successful companies, Yahoo! has been a driving force in balancing innovation and personalized online services with built-in privacy protections.  For more than 15 years, we have embraced privacy by design — working to integrate transparency and control into our products from their inception.  Yahoo! continues to pride itself on being a leader in online privacy.

Providing our consumers with an enjoyable and personally relevant online experience, while simultaneously empowering them to protect their privacy with tools and security settings at the point of action, is a constant focus for Yahoo!  For a look at some of our privacy innovations, check out our Data Privacy Day post.

I look forward to being an active and vocal part of the consultative process as the Task Force moves ahead with its final policy considerations.

Anne Toth
Yahoo!, Chief Trust Officer

Yahoo! International Data Privacy Day 2011

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Happy International Data Privacy Day! This year’s celebration comes at an interesting and critical juncture in the conversation about online privacy, with consumers, industry, and regulatory bodies around the globe all intently focused on implementing the best and most efficient ways to safeguard user information on the Internet. This conversation has moved beyond Capitol Hill and Brussels and into just about every online user’s home.

In an online environment that has become increasingly social, where personalization is expected, and sharing information is much more commonplace, privacy and user controls are vitally important to consumers.

Proudly, protecting user privacy has been a core part of Yahoo!’s business since it was founded in 1995. And for more than a decade, Yahoo! has been an industry leader in protecting users’ privacy while providing world class web services and tools that make their online experiences more meaningful and relevant. We are constantly developing new and innovative ways to meet consumer demands, as well as address policymaker expectations with respect to online privacy.

The way consumers use the web is vastly different than a decade ago. Today, users log on to the Internet to help manage almost every aspect of life. The Internet has become an interpersonal necessity that greatly helps people cut through the clutter to manage and simplify their lives. Given this reality, questions about online privacy have become front of mind for many.

The best way to allay concerns is to educate consumers on the many privacy controls that already exist, and the continuing innovation on this front. Here at Yahoo!, we are extremely proud of our ongoing efforts to create transparency and control for users.

Yahoo!’s Ad Interest Manager tool offers a comprehensive and consumer-friendly way for users to opt-out of interest-based  advertisements on a category-by-category basis. And as always, our one-click opt-out and privacy center are available from nearly every page across the network.

Additionally, Yahoo!’s CLEAR Ad Notice and our drive behind the industry “Ad Choices” icon effort which offers privacy notices and other information at the point of advertising, earned Yahoo!’s own Shane Wiley a Service Excellence Award from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. This massive effort is a commitment from more than 4,000 companies to increase transparency for users of online advertising and the ad choices icon is already becoming recognizable across the web.

Yahoo! is keenly aware that user trust is core to our business, so we are constantly innovating with privacy in mind. Everyday, products are created with privacy tools at the foundation to ensure we educate and protect our users, whether they log on from a computer, mobile or other device.

Here at Yahoo! we recognize that consumer trust plays a critical role in a vibrant, successful Internet economy and we will continue to develop products that provide users both peace of mind and that personally relevant experience they have come to expect.

Anne Toth
Chief Trust Officer

Yahoo!’s Longtime Commitment to AMBER Alerts

Friday, January 14th, 2011

January 13th marked the 15th anniversary of the abduction and murder of Amber Hagerman, which lead to the creation of the national AMBER Alert Program.  AMBER stands for:  America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response.   The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize an entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.

As part of Yahoo!’s longtime commitment to fostering online child safety, we collaborate with child safety groups and law enforcement, including an on-going,  multi-faceted partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).  NCMEC works closely with the U.S. Department of Justice and has an integral role in expanding the reach for AMBER alerts through partnerships with Internet companies, I S Ps, the Trucking industry and the Wireless Industry.

Ten years ago Yahoo! collaborated with NCMEC to help disseminate AMBER alerts to Yahoo!’s powerful network of millions of people around the world.  The team integrated AMBER alerts into the Yahoo! Alerts news system, giving people the ability to receive instant updates on missing children both at the local city level through zip codes and the statewide level in all 50 States.   AMBER alerts can be sent to an email address, via Yahoo! Messenger and/or to a mobile device.

It’s important that we work together as a global community to help foster safer experiences for children, and we applaud Facebook’s recent efforts to also offer AMBER alert bulletins to their users.

To date the AMBER Alert program has been credited with the safe recovery of 525 children nationwide.

For more information on online safety, go to

Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s director of child safety and product policy