updated 12:55 pm EDT, Sun May 4, 2014
Search engine turns focus from privacy concerns to personalization
Last week, Yahoo announced that it would no longer be honoring Do Not Track requests from browsers accessing the search engine and associated services. The move comes as the company attempts to provide a more personal experience to users, bringing policies in line with other companies that ignore Do Not Track requests such as Facebook and Google. This comes as a reversal to previous statements made by the company, which claimed to be "the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track."
Yahoo's policy blog (via Tumblr) made an announcement on the situation, stating that the company has "been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard." Yet, the post says, the problem lies in the fact that there has yet to be "a single standard emerge that is effective, easy-to-use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry." The inability to find an effective measure led Yahoo to drop the initiative in order to provide a "highly personalized experience."
Yahoo account holders will be able to manage their privacy settings through Yahoo's privacy center, but the options it provides are only small changes, including the ability to opt out of advertisements. Doing so also requires the use of tracking cookies to keep the settings.
The change means that Yahoo will be ignoring browser settings which would have applied Do Not Track settings for all websites visited at the request of the user. However, it says the privacy of users "is and will continue to be a top priority" for the company.