Anger erupts after Yahoo changes its terms to allow it to read content on users' emails
Users of Yahoo email are furious that changes to the terms and conditions will let the company snoop on their emails.
"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)," ...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," the terms and conditions now state.
The changes by the search engine giant are aimed at letting it implement behavioural advertising, and, the company said, to offer better spam protection.
"Users who choose to accept the new terms will allow Yahoo's computer systems to identify words, links, people and subjects from their email, so that we can deliver exciting new product features," Yahoo said.
But behavioural advertising initiatives, such as the deeply unpopular Phorm targeted-advertising experiment, have caused serious privacy concerns.
Privacy experts have condemned Yahoo's move. Daniel Hamilton of Big Brother Watch said: "It's extremely disappointing that Yahoo has opted to intrude on privacy in this way. Web users have a right not to see their personal messages trawled through in order to boost Yahoo's advertising revenue.
"Yahoo should abandon these changes before the crucial bond of trust between it and its users is damaged beyond repair."
He also told us that he was planning to take the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office.
There has been no response to our requests for comment from Yahoo.
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