As you may recall, Oath is a group of companies made up primarily of Yahoo and AOL. Keen to find some way of making some actual ruddy money, it appears that targeted adverts in its mail services are going to be a big part of it.
If we’ve learned one thing over the past month or so, it’s that targeted adverts require access to users’ personal data.
Let’s look at some of the really scary bits.
Firstly it says that it “analyses and stores all communications content, including email content from incoming and outgoing mail,” so it can “deliver, personalise and develop relevant features, content, advertising and Services.”
Yahoo did that already, but now it applies to AOL too.
If there was any clearer indication that this is a bad thing, it’s that Google had already stopped doing this for Gmail as a reflection of public opinion turning against this invasion of privacy.
The Oath group can also “analyse your content and other information (including emails, instant messages, posts photos, attachments, and other communications),” and even check up on your spending habits with the somewhat chilling analysis of “user content around certain interactions with financial institutions.”
The company says that it has automated systems to take out anything to identify you, but at the same time, those same systems are going to be used potentially to identify and tag your pictures. So… what’s up with that?
The fact that the company has decided to do this now, when the issue is so embedded in the news already and moral panic is rising, suggests that Oath has no choice in doing something like this to maintain profitability.
Thing is, you do. Yahoo, particularly, has been a security nightmare for a long time over its email service and if you’re still using it, then perhaps its time to take another look at whether it’s time to take a step back and question if it’s time for a change.