Yahoo! Following gmail with plans to scan your emails……


Which? have reported that users of Yahoo! email services are about to get a nasty shock with a new set of Additional Terms of Service that will allow them to scan all emails sent from or to a Yahoo! email address.

This follows on from gmail’s service which has been running for several years now where the service provider scans emails that have arrived at a gmail address inbox and attaches relevant ads, based on the content, to the email. It would appear that this is also the route Yahoo! will be ‘improving on’ in the future with added implications.

Yahoo! are saying that it will read emails to identify any words, links, people and subjects contained in them to allow them to deliver some exciting new product features. This will be notified to users of their email service by way of a pop-up box advising of the new additional terms of service (ATOS)  and telling users how to opt-out via http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/uk/yahoo/ if they wish. This gets them round the consent side of things for the Yahoo! email users however, there is a disturbing clause in the T&Cs which states:

By using the Services, you consent to allow our 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). If you consent to this ATOS and communicate with non-Yahoo! users using the Services, you are responsible for notifying those users about this feature.”

This shows that Yahoo! are also going to be intercepting and scanning incoming mail to their customers regardless of whether the sender uses Yahoo! or not. This, by implication, also means that they will be scanning/processing without the consent of the sender. So what is their solution to this?

Simple, Yahoo! says that all their email users must notify their contacts that this is happening to give them the chance to opt-out. From my understanding this means that the only way they can opt-out of Yahoo! scanning their emails is to stop sending them to their friend with the Yahoo! email account….

So, if you have a Yahoo! email address you may wish to start thinking whether you still wish to retain it given what is going to happen or maybe look round for another email supplier that is less invasive.

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About KPG Professional Services

Kevin has been working in the Data Protection field for over 20 years with The Post Office, Royal Mail Marketing, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Glasgow Housing Association Ltd. He is also trained in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and has supplied expertise and support in this discipline for the past 4 years. In his leisure time Kevin is a presenter on Hospital Radio, an SRU rugby referee and referee coach and also the stadium announcer at McDiarmid Park for his team St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League.
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