Check out the article before reading: https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/28/17792522/yahoo-mail-email-scan-data-advertisers-opt-out
While reading the article “Yahoo mail is still scanning your emails for data to sell to advertisers,” I found a disturbing lack in ethics coming from the top of the company.
This article delves into a deal in the works between Yahoo! and advertisers to “analyze over 200 million Yahoo mail inboxes for consumer data”. Yahoo’s owner is referred to only as “Oath” throughout the article, giving it an almost super villain moniker. This is a company of representatives responding to questions about the data mining. They rationalize giving up this data by claiming they’re only scanning promotional emails, usually from retailers. They also rationalize further, “email is an expensive system, and people can’t expect a free service without some value exchanged,” which is a wormy way of saying, “stealing private information is okay if the person doing it is giving them something for free”. They are contradicted in this rational however, because the article goes on to claim that Yahoo! is still scanning the emails of it’s users that pay for its premium service.
This information is derived from essentially sorting users into categories based on what ads they get or respond to often. Someone who gets a lot of airline emails would be sorted into a “traveler” category. It takes not only machines but, human readers to search through this potentially private information though. This raises ethical questions in regards to humans directly viewing the private info.
The company is doing what nearly every company seems to do these days: Enable the customers to opt out but, don’t make it easy for them. While there is an ability to opt out it’s a small, fine print, difficult to find option.
The article goes on to question the company’s longevity for its recent data breaches as well as having nothing but it’s email service in comparison to google which has a search engine and other utilities to rely upon if it’s email clientele leave it.