Yahoo To Spy On Your Emails

Internet giant Yahoo (used by millions for Yahoo email) will soon be actively spying on your emails according to worrying reports:

Yahoo has changed its small print terms and conditions to get permission to view and scan emails. The firm will be able to spy on incoming emails from individuals and businesses without permission or warning.”

Hmm, if someone intercepted and read the snail mail that drops through my front door they would be committing a criminal offense – I am not convinced that it should be any different just because email is electronic.

It will allow the company to identify which celebrities, subjects, sports, hobbies and products a particularly customer is interested in.” Ho ho, so if you have a sneaking fondness for Justin Bieber’s ‘music’ and don’t want to be found out, don’t mention it in your emails ;-)

The report goes on to say: “In future, it would use the information to target the customer with website advertising and product information that is relevant to these areas. The Yahoo customer visiting a range of websites would then see pop-up advertisements that are relevant to keywords in outgoing and incoming emails.

Great, even more pop up adverts to get in the way of your web browsing – and they are ‘targeted’ based on the content of your personal emails.

Anyone else see a slight problem with this approach, which includes incoming emails – when you have absolutely no control over what emails someone sends to you? Imagine if your email account is targeted (either by a spammer or by a friend playing a joke) with loads of spam email offering you free viagra or glimpses of Kylie Minogue’s personal bits – Yahoo could automatically snatch those keywords and serve you a corresponding advertising diet of pills and thrills as you innocently make your way round the web. Eek!

Considering that children also use Yahoo email and may be even more likely to receive spam (because they are often very casual about where on the internet they publish their email address), do we really want them bombarded with email keyword based adverts like these?

Yahoo’s spokesman said: “the new terms will allow Yahoo’s computer systems to … deliver exciting new product features“. Product features? I think he means adverts…

And, almost as an afterthought, he added: “In time, we will also serve relevant ads“. There you go!