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Yahoo to Users: Let Us Read Your Emails or — Goodbye!

Yahoo to Users: Let Us Read Your Emails or — Goodbye! 1

As of June 1, all Yahoo email users are required to upgrade to the company’s newest platform, which allows Yahoo to scan and analyze every email they write or receive. According to Yahoo’s help page, all users who make the transition agree to let the company perform “content scanning and analyzing of your communications content” to target ads, offer products, and perform “abuse protection.”

This means any message that Yahoo’s algorithms find disturbing could flag a user as a bully, a threat, or worse. At the same time, Yahoo can now openly troll through email for personal information that it can share or hold onto indefinitely. See: http://help.yahoo.com/kb/index?page=content&y=PROD_MAIL_ML&locale=en_US&id=SLN3254 Archived at: Yahoo mail upgrade.

Gay and haven’t come out yet? Yahoo knows. Having an affair? Your spouse may not know — but Yahoo does. Any interests, ailments or projects you’d rather not share? You’re sharing them with Yahoo, perhaps forever.

The new tracking policy affects more than just Yahoo account holders. Everyone who corresponds with a Yahoo email account holder will also have their own message content scanned, analyzed, and stored by Yahoo, even if they themselves have not agreed to Yahoo’s new terms of service.

“Emailing through Yahoo means surrendering your privacy, whether it’s your own account or your friend’s,” says Harvard-trained privacy expert Katherine Albrecht, who is helping to develop StartMail, an upcoming email service that will not scan its users’ correspondence. “It’s time we start paying attention to these policies, because they’re growing more shockingly abusive every day,” she added.

Where prior versions of Yahoo had tracking policies buried in the fine print, the company’s tracking agenda is now openly stated in paragraph 2: “When you upgrade you will be accepting our …Privacy Policy.” That is, its anti-privacy policy.

Concerned Yahoo users are invited to check out StartMail, a completely private email program slated for release this Fall. Anyone who would like to be a beta tester can visit StartMail (www.StartMail.com) and sign up for the upcoming release.

Rest assured: That information will not be shared with anyone at all.

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Especially not Yahoo.

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