Yahoo ‘should abandon’ email scanning feature

A major UK privacy group calls on Yahoo to drop a recently introduced email scanning feature.

Computer spy

Yahoo has been called on to change its terms and conditions so it can't legally scan user emails.

The internet giant was criticised by Which?, the consumer group, which said Yahoo had introduced changes to its T&Cs so it could scan emails for data to use for advertising purposes.

Yahoo said its scanning technologies were being implemented to block spam as well as to offer relevant adverts to users.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Yahoo should abandon these changes before the crucial bond of trust between it and its users is damaged beyond repair.

Big Brother Watch director, Daniel Hamilton, said today the email provider's actions were "disappointing," calling on the company to go back on its decision.

"Web users have a right not to see their personal messages trawled through in order to boost Yahoo's advertising revenue," Hamilton told IT Pro.

"Yahoo should abandon these changes before the crucial bond of trust between it and its users is damaged beyond repair."

A Yahoo spokesperson told the BBC a box would appear asking for users' consent before any scanning ensued.

The technology will "look for keywords and links to further protect you from spam, surface photos [photos sent from friends which then won't go straight to spam] and in time, serve users with interest-based advertising," the spokesperson said.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been in touch with Yahoo about the scanning feature, but no action will be taken for now.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"We've spoken to Yahoo about their email scanning feature. As with any business or organisation that changes the way its customer data is used, Yahoo has an obligation to be upfront with their users to make sure their information is being processed fairly," an ICO spokesperson said.

"This includes making sure they have clear and accessible privacy notices which will allow users to make informed decisions in relation to privacy and other aspects of the service."

Yahoo isn't the only provider which carries out email scanning. Google does the same with Gmail, saying it does so to filter spam and identify potentially harmful material.

Featured Resources

The case for a marketing content hub

Transform your digital marketing to deliver customer expectations

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

IT faces new security challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Beat the crisis by learning how to secure your network

Download now


email delivery

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

20 Jun 2019
Google Android

Arizona files lawsuit against Google for illegally tracking Android users’ locations

29 May 2020

K2View innovates in data management with new encryption patent

28 May 2020
email providers

Gmail introduces new features to makes personalizing your inbox easier

28 May 2020

Most Popular

network attached storage (NAS)

Western Digital accused of sneaking inferior SMR tech into NAS drives

1 Jun 2020
data breaches

EasyJet faces class-action lawsuit over data breach

26 May 2020
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft warns users not to install Windows 10's May update

28 May 2020