Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Globe-trotting for Consumer Empowerment!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

I’m zipping around the world to spread the word on consumer empowerment, privacy and child safety. Yesterday I participated in a panel at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Entitled “Consumer Empowerment via the Mobile Internet,” the panel was moderated by Ambassador David Gross and was the beginning of an entire day focused on enabling the mobile future. Other panelists included Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI – of which Yahoo! is a board member), Lynne Dorward the Group Chief Regulatory Officer at Zain, Matthias Kurth of BNetzA Germany, and H.E Mr. S Poghisio who is the Minister for Information and Communications for Kenya.

I was truly inspired by the work that my fellow panelists are doing to enable consumers across the world to access and use the Internet as never before. That is where consumer empowerment begins. We talked about new fiber optic cables that are providing Kenyans with high-speed Internet access for the first time, mobile banking that gives farmers and small businessmen in developing countries access to new commerce tools even if they don’t have a bank account, digital citizenship and safety in a world of distributed devices in the hands of young people, and the idea of self-regulatory models of governance in privacy that enable global standards that move at the speed of the Internet.

Since the Internet is truly global, I was asked about the challenges of applying a patchwork of global and even state standards to services that we provide to Yahoo!’s 500 million users around the world. I indicated that it is, indeed, hard to do and short of a miraculous global regulatory order appearing one day (think Star Trek), this will continue to be a challenge for global companies. This is why we prefer a self-regulatory model whenever possible. It’s nimble, responsive, and allows us to create a consistent, portable, and global standard. I strongly believe there is evidence to support that self-regulation can work. One of our own examples is Yahoo!’s data retention policy move from holding identifiable log file data for 13 months down to 90 days for most log file data. Such a dramatic change to minimize how long we hold identifiable data is evidence of how self-regulation helps drive innovation at a rapid pace. If a law had been passed to set a 13 month standard, it’s not at all certain that companies would be motivated to move more aggressively. This is not just self-regulation, but positive competition within the industry. In the end, consumers win.

As the title of the panel says, it is all about consumer empowerment. Giving consumers access to information, means of communication, education on how to use these powerful tools, and portable controls that help them manage safety and privacy are all part of our mission at Yahoo!.

Anne Toth
VP Global Policy and Head of Privacy

Yahoo!’s Mobile Safety Tips

Friday, January 15th, 2010

During this holiday season, a slew of new mobile devices were brought into the home and put into the hands of teens.   And its no big surprise — kids today rely on mobile devices to engage with the Internet, consume information, and connect with friends and family members.  According to an August 2009 Pew Internet & American Life Project research study, cell phone usage among teens ages 12 – 17 is up 26 percentage points from 2004 to 2008.  And by the age of 17, eight in ten teens (84%) have their own cell phone.  With access to these powerful communication tools, teens need to be empowered and educated on how to be digital citizens, how to manage their online reputations, and how to make personal mobile safety a priority.

At Yahoo!, we recognize this need for education – among kids and parents – and we have developed this list of mobile safety tips.  We have been working closely with national child safety advocates, law enforcement agencies, educational leaders, and parents to help coach youth about protecting their online personas and creating a safer online experience.

  1. Think before you send. Stop, and think before you share a thought or forward a photo.  Imagine your grandmother or principal on the receiving end.
  2. Protect your personal information. When you send email, texts, photos or instant messages to people who are not trusted friends or family, don’t give out personal information they could use to find your physical location or exploit you. Guard your password like a hawk.
  3. Control negativity.  Think carefully about who you want to communicate with and who you should ignore.  Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger have features that allow you to block people. If you receive abusive or harassing messages online, report the abuse where and when you see it.
  4. Use Safe Search. Yahoo! offers a default Safe Search filter to help keep inappropriate content out of your search results. While no filter can guarantee 100% removal of all inappropriate content, using a filter like Safe Search will make a big difference in keeping unwanted material out of your search results.
  5. Download applications from trusted sources only! If you download software from a third party, be sure to only download applications from developers you trust. And, read their Terms of Service and privacy policies to really understand what you’re giving them permission to do when you download their app.
  6. Never Text while Driving. This should be obvious, but you’d have to have super hero powers to be able to read, type and drive at the same time, not to mention that it’s illegal in some states.

For more detailed information about mobile safety, check out the blogs and guidelines on Yahoo! Safely, and the excellent content on texting and sexting provided by our partners at and

Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s Director of Child Safety and Product Policy

Good Privacy Things Come In Small Mobile Packages

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Today at Yahoo!, we continue our efforts to offer personally relevant products and services with privacy protections built right in. We take privacy seriously whether our users are accessing Yahoo! on their PCs or mobile devices. Whether catching up on the latest news, sending emails, viewing the latest updates across social networks or taking and uploading photos, we believe the mobile experience should offer the same privacy protections consumers expect to find on the PC. Furthermore, management of privacy protections should be available via any mobile device, whether that’s an iPhone or a Blackberry.

We take special care to tailor our privacy features for the unique attributes of the mobile environment:

  • We have developed a mobile privacy policy which highlights privacy issues specific to mobile, so users can quickly get answers. The mobile privacy policy is easily accessible from all of Yahoo!’s mobile services.
  • We make sure to get our users’ permission before we use their GPS or cell tower information; and
  • When a signed-in user opts out of interest-based advertising on his or her computer, we respect that opt-out when that user signs into our services on the mobile device.
  • Now we have a new feature that lets our users opt out of interest-based advertising from Yahoo! right from their mobile device, making privacy choices even more accessible to our users. We believe we are among the first of our major competitors to offer an opt-out choice of this kind directly from a mobile device.

    mobile privacy

    The mobile Internet is constantly changing with new platforms, hundreds of devices and lots of exciting innovation. But our approach to privacy in the mobile environment is consistent with Yahoo!’s overall approach to user privacy. We want to maintain the trust we have built by giving our users more control and choice about how they share info with friends and customize their experience on Yahoo! mobile properties.

    Deepti Rohatgi
    Policy Director