Skip to comments.Is it right for Yahoo! to snoop on your emails?
Posted on 06/24/2011 11:13:17 PM PDT by LibWhacker
Yahoo! Mail plans to snoop on your emails. Accepting its updated T&Cs give it the right to read your messages and target relevant advertising. Would you be happy if your emails were analysed in this way?
Its eight in the evening, youre juggling a glass of wine and a sneaky fag in one hand, while emailing away with the other. Youre venting to your best friend about the latest slings and arrows of outrageous fortune to have befallen your life; secure in the knowledge that nobodys eavesdropping on your conversation.
Well, before you raise your glass in a congratulatory toast at this self recognition, you need to revisit that last comment, especially if Yahoo! Mail (Yahoo!) is your email service provider.
Why? Because Yahoo! Mail, Which? Computing has learned, is currently in the process of updating its terms and conditions to allow it to read and analyse its customers emails and messaging content.
Yahoo! Mails updated T&Cs
The worlds largest email provider has said that if you agree to its Additional Terms of Service (ATOS), youre giving it your express permission to scan and analyse the content of any electronic correspondence sent by your account.
Why is it scanning your emails? In short, to target relevant content and advertising this is something the email provider lets you opt-out of, but not the scanning itself.
To a certain extent we have no issue with this, if consent is being given freely. The only thing we would say is make sure you read the T&Cs, because if you dont youre in for a nasty shock. We do, however, have an issue with Section C. of the ATOS, 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.
In other words, its saying that it will go on to do the same with any emails sent to your inbox, even if these senders have not given their express consent for this to take place (as they may not use Yahoo! Mail).
Can senders really give consent?
Yahoo! also says its apparently down to you to notify senders that their emails are now being analysed, which implies that once this has taken place senders have given their consent. Obviously, we have concerns with this, our main one being whether its even possible to get consent vicariously?
Weve put a few of these questions to the Home Office and will update you as soon as we hear from it. In the meantime, if you object to Yahoo!s new terms, we suggest you switch to a different email provider.
Is there any web email that doesn’t do this?
Give up all pretense of privacy ye who enter here.
I assume that Yahoo and the rest have been doing this and have always done this and will always do this, then proceed from there.
Good question. At least Yahoo’s admitting it.
Not long ago, I received an invitation to a party. Google decorated it with several relevant ads and directions to the party location.
Gmail does also. I assume Hotmail does also. You want ad-free pay for it.
only IF you agree to the TOS...
but at least i don’t have gmail. Never heard of an e-mail which asks you for a for a phone number to verify who you are...
I do have MAIL.COM which is awesome, free and better than Yahoo! The drawback is that it is an AP product, so just bear with the Obama ass-kissing headlines like Yahoo.
I use yahoo, gmail, myway, lycos and hotmail as junk mail addresses when signing up for any web subscriptions, surveys, whatever. They collect all the crap and I use my real email (pop) for correspondence with friends.
Anyone know a free or low-cost alternative email provider that is 100% committed to user privacy?
I would hope hushmail doesn’t, but who knows..
I would try www.hushmail.com
They *seem* to be very privacy minded. But, can you really say they are? Maybe they’re a honeypot. It’s all a gamble.
Thanks for posting. Just sent to all the yahoo users on my list. This stinks... jeeesh. FYI: sbcglobal.net email is also Yahoo.
Apple will be offering free email without ads when they start the iCloud service in September.
It isn’t the ads .. it’s the intrusion of your privacy, reading emails.
Gmail has been doing this for ages.
The problem with encryption is so few people use it that it it’s almost certainly a red flag for multiple agencies.
Well, it sounds like Yahoo is going to add content-associated advertisements to your incoming email. If this is all, why not be specific about the warning, that this is how they support a free email service. Few users would complain if they knew why, and if they knew that Yahoo would not reveal anyone’s identity to any advertiser, and those still concerned would, as you suggest, encrypt the content (and presumably get a random advertisement each time).
Is there a simple, free way to do that or is it a paid deal?
I host my own website, so I use that for e-mail. Even there, I’m not sure who might be looking at the mail.
“Its eight in the evening, youre juggling a glass of wine and a sneaky fag in one hand.....”
The state of New York approves of this article...celebutards reaction tweets to follow.
I’m working on some friends to get them to adopt GnuPG. It’s great and not at all difficult to use. My client is Thunderbird so I’m using the Enigmail add on.
That's what you get when you sign up for free email service. Probably the same thing with your paid-email provider, too - only they're not telling you about it.
Hell, NSA is scanning anything that pushes electrons and photons from one place to another.
That little old lady sitting in the back room reading your emails. Damn get out the tin foils hats.
Is it right? is it right? how silly. It can be done and it can be done cheaply. It will, therefore, be done. That applies to all government and big company snooping. The technology exists and the expense is minute alongside everything else and for a company the profit from the advertising that snooping makes possible is great. The only point of laws against this sort of thing is to prevent the evidence so gathered by the government to be used against you openly in court.
I use GnuPG for some personal uses, but not email, where I don't have any control or influence over most of the various recipients.
I once experimented with encryption of email for work purposes and if you didn't sign up for a paid certificate with one of the major services, the email program at work would refuse to decrypt it, saying the source was untrusted.
I guess you get around the certificate problem by using this strictly for email with people you know so you can exchange keys directly?
I love my hushmail. The money spent is well worth it. One thing I like is that I can send it encrypted and if someone else gets into the computer of the recipient, they cannot read the email unless they know the secret word that I have given in person to the recipient.
Exactly! I use hushmail. I also have an aol and a yahoo email but I use them for BS things and I rarely use them. They can read away on those. They will get nothing. If I start getting spam, I delete the accounts and make a new one. You can have 100 yahoo accounts at the same time, same with aol.
I encrypt all of my emails from my main email account.
Not the little old lady..... but if you don’t have an issue with it, email away. I’ll pass and they won’t read mine pal.
Yes, I agree that reading your email is intrusive. But the reason Google and Yahoo read your email is to target you with ads. If you send a message to a sibling about buying your father a fishing pole for Father's Day, you will get ads in your next emails about fishing equipment.
If you get a free email account with a company, and that company doesn't push ads to you, then there is no motivation to read your email. Apple's free email service with iCloud will be ad free.
Thank you ... gawd, I wish I could grasp that stuff.
I’m just SO non-techie. Configuring all that stuff would put me in total brain freeze, with a migraine and utter babbling confusion. What do you think of hushmail for privacy?
“The problem with encryption is so few people use it that it its almost certainly a red flag for multiple agencies.”
How would they even know it’s encrypted?
Isn’t it just an attachment you send?
I have only used it for email to friends from personal accounts, no business accounts. And yes, GnuPG has other uses too.
Honorable mention ping.
I keep busy.