Yandex users get a personal data management tool

1 June 2021. A personal data management tool is now available to all users in their Yandex ID accounts. Using the tool, the users can now receive a full copy of personal information that various Yandex services have accumulated about them, and delete their data from individual services. That can be the Alice voice assistant request history or recent geolocation information, among other data.

The copy, which includes information from over 50 Yandex services, can take several days to prepare. The user gets notified via an email once it is ready and available in her or his Yandex ID account. As of today, data removal can be requested from Yandex’s Alice, Music, Maps, Mail, Disk, Zen, Translator, Weather, Messenger, Business and Station services, and Yandex is to add this option to all its major services by the end of the year. 

Most of the data is removed from servers within 24 hours upon the receipt of the user request. In the event of receiving the request that involves the information which is legally required to be stored for a certain period of time, Yandex stops processing such data immediately and removes it as soon as the specified period elapses. Data that have become an integral part of a service — such as map edits and 360 street views in Maps — cannot be fully deleted. Instead, it gets anonymized, with Yandex erasing the information about the authors.

Ivan Cherevko, Yandex’s Chief Privacy Officer:

“Data about users, their interests and actions — likes and dislikes, reviews, trip history, and so on — helps us develop convenient and personalized services. Yandex handles and stores such information with the highest security standards. At the same time, transparency is the key: we believe that any user should have the freedom to learn what Yandex knows about them and to choose what to do with such knowledge.” 

Data removal cannot be undone. It can also result in some personalization features of Yandex services becoming no longer available until the user is to return to the service. For example, Music’s playlist recommendations may become less personalized as they rely on a user’s listening history, their likes and dislikes. 

The personal data management tool can be accessed in the Manage Your Account section of Yandex ID, Yandex’s SOC 2 compliant unified authentication service. As an additional security measure, the user is required to enter a confirmation code sent to the phone number linked to a personal account.


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