Gooodbye Yahoo Messenger
Gooodbye Yahoo MessengerReuters

Is Yahoo's latest move to upgrade mail a privacy infringement? This may be quite true.

The website had earlier warned its Classic mail users via email that they would no longer be able to access the mail after 3 June, if they are not upgrading to its latest version. It said "Beginning the week of June 3, 2013, older versions of Yahoo! Mail (including Yahoo! Mail Classic) will no longer be available. After that, you can access your Mail only if you upgrade to the new version."

At first, it may seem like a very good decision for Yahoo to regain its user base. But the upgradation notice comes with quite an annoying 'veiled' prerequisite.

It tells users only upon a help centre entry that "when you upgrade, you will be accepting our Communications Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. This includes the acceptance of automated content scanning and analyzing of your communications content, which Yahoo! Uses to deliver product features, relevant advertising and abuse protection." It gives users the option to upgrade their mail and receive ads related to eight categories including automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment etc.

Yahoo had launched the new mail in December and assured that the new facet is to offer users a unique experience with fewer distractions, but nowhere had it mentioned that the emails will get scanned. Most of the users opted for the new version unaware, as the company has not released its 'new terms' of getting the upgraded. Only Classic mail users received the warning regarding the switch and only a help centre entry revealed its prime motive behind the switch.

The advertisement will reach the current users' mail through the default 'opt in' for the receipt of such ads. However, the company said that its Ad Interest Manager could aid users to opt out of some or all of the interest-based and contextual-based advertising resulting from scanned and analyzed communications content. This means one would not receive the product promotion mails if opted, but there is no option given to wriggle out from the scanning of one's communication via the mail.

Yahoo tells its users that those who decline its new policies are left with two options: to either download the mail to another IMAP client, or close the account. Premium Mail plus users are offered a refund too. So the company is bluntly saying that the only option to avoid getting their email scanned is to ditch Yahoo. This may seem like a great move from Yahoo which is being alienated from all corners due to increased hacking threats on its accounts.

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