The last thing that people want is for others to be reading their personal emails. It does not matter if it's just one individual or a company, people want their private lives left alone. Well it now seems that anyone that is using Yahoo! Mail may be having their personal emails read by the search engine giant.
Right now Yahoo! users all over the world are being warned that there has been a change in the terms and conditions of Yahoo! Mail. Apparently the company now holds the right to scan emails for targeting advertising.
The company that has brought this news to light was the consumer organization Which?. The consumer group said that this is clearly an invasion of privacy. They went on to say that people should have the right to be able to send messages with Yahoo! without having to worry about the company “snooping” through their mail.
Apparently, ever since this past June, Yahoo! has been moving customers to a brand new system. This new system crawls through incoming and outgoing emails to find keywords. These keywords are then, of course, used to find relevant advertising. The goal is to get users to click more ads and, thus, increase the search engine's revenue.
However, some experts do not see what the big deal is. In fact, they point out that Google, for a long time now, has been using a very similar system to deliver advertising to Gmail users. All Yahoo! is doing is following suit. Not only that, but Yahoo! has defended itself by saying that they have at least asked users for their permission before doing this.
According to reports, Yahoo! asks its users via a pop-up window if they have consent to scan inbound and outbound emails for keywords and links. They will use this information to, of course, further protect against spam, as well as find interest-based advertising for that user. The people who do not consent to this are allowed to continue to use the old Yahoo! Mail system. Thus, it is not an upgrade that people have to make.
Not only that, but the Information Commissioner's Office said that these changes made by Yahoo! are allowed as long as they continue to ask users if they want to take part. The company also has to try its best to keep users informed of any changes to these rules.
The Information Commissioner's Office went on to say that they have spoken to Yahoo about their email scanning features. They have admitted that they do have an obligation to be upfront with users. As long as Yahoo plays by the rules, there is no problem here. Although there are clearly going to be some users that are upset with these changes, Yahoo has done nothing against the law. All users who are having their emails scanned have given Yahoo permission to do so.