The Tech Herald

Which? voices privacy concerns regarding Yahoo Mail

by Steven Mostyn - Jul 12 2011, 10:52

Who's reading YOUR emails? Image: Yahoo.

With mobile phone and email privacy currently highlighted by the spotlight of negativity—especially in relation to Rupert Murdoch and News Corp—we thought it pertinent to bring you news of similar concerns surrounding Yahoo.

More pointedly, the following newly adjusted ‘Terms & Conditions’ connected to the Internet pioneer’s email service have tripped the alarms over at renowned consumer group Which?.

“By using the Services, you consent to allow Yahoo’s automated systems to scan and analyse all incoming and outgoing communications content sent and received from your account (such as Mail and Messenger content including instant messages and SMS messages).”

According to Which?, “most consumers would be horrified” to learn that Yahoo can read their private emails and also track their online activity in order to apply behavioural-based targeted advertising.

In answering Which’s accusations, Yahoo has said that its update focuses on simply improving the overall user experience of its Mail platform and that many rival email services already include content-based scans.

It also insists that all users are notified of the alterations via a pop-up message before the update runs, and those who don’t want to sign-up can continue enjoying the old Yahoo! Mail service.

And that’s apparently enough to placate the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which has been in contact with Yahoo regarding the new alterations.

“As with any business or organisation that changes the way its customer data is used, Yahoo has an obligation to be upfront with their users to make sure their information is being processed fairly,” a seemingly satisfied ICO spokesman commented.

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