In this day and age, data is currency. The number of data breaches happening in recent times gives testament to the statement. The amount of privacy violations committed by major companies shows that even they realize the importance of their users’ data. But right now, it has gone on to an extent where we have to question the ethical aspect of these companies. The latest entry into the long list of similar incidents has been committed by Yahoo!. The company is now involved in selling data present in your obsolete Yahoo! or AOL emails, without asking for your permission.
Yahoo! Scans Your Emails For Targeted Advertising
Verizon acquired Yahoo! in July 2016, and later in 2017, it combined Yahoo! and AOL together to create Oath, a new subsidiary. According to WSJ, Oath has found scanning more than 200 million Yahoo Mail inboxes to collect and sell data to advertisers.
“We may share aggregated or pseudonymous information (including demographic information) with partners, such as publishers, advertisers, measurement analytics, apps, or other companies… We do not share information that personally identifies you (personally identifiable information is information like name or email address) with these partners, such as publishers, advertisers, measurement analytics, apps, or other companies.”
Not too long back, Facebook was in a privacy controversy of its own. It was using its VPN app to collect data from Apple iOS users. It’s not the only one case. Google isn’t any different from Facebook in this aspect. The Gmail fiasco is more than enough evidence to prove it. All these companies are trying this hard to get your private data because, ultimately, this is what is going to keep the company afloat.
The main source of income on the internet come in the form of advertisements. This is where your data comes in. When you speak about your interests to literally anyone on apps like Gmail, the parent companies immediately use it to show you related ads with the help of their algorithms. The more you look at their ads, the more money they earn.
Why Is Yahoo Reading Your Emails?
Regardless of how profitable data collection is in today’s world, the privacy violations by the big companies aren’t secret anymore. People have come out to speak for their rights, with major companies having no option but to admit to their deeds. Then why is Yahoo deciding to do it now, of all times? The answer is simple – Yahoo isn’t the company it once was. Hence, it won’t bring about as much outcry as other similar deeds have. Who cares about their old email accounts anyway!
One other reason why Yahoo! is reading abandoned emails now is that they aren’t treating the data in the same manner as their counterparts. One notable difference between their privacy policies and that of Google is the presence of ‘human curation’. This means that Yahoo! is entitled to have human eyes look into at least some of your emails. This brings about a bunch of new opportunities for Yahoo! to use the data in an innovative manner.
What’s Next For Yahoo!?
Yahoo Mail, once considered as a major competitor for Gmail, is well past its best days now. Due to the lack of leaders like Marissa Mayer, the company has been on a steady decline for some time now. Most of us use our Yahoo Mail accounts to store spam. But the people at Yahoo! even managed to scavenge through spam data, just to make money. Things might not look all that rosy for Yahoo’s future at the moment. Regardless, Yahoo! has plenty of its divisions and products still active today. It still continues to be one of the more visited websites on the internet, ranking sixth, both in the US and globally. Hence, there’s a lot of scope for improvement. The company needs a major revamp to begin competing with its counterparts again. But sadly, the question isn’t when it will happen, but rather if it will happen at all.