The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Yahoo! is still scanning its users’ emails for data in order to sell it to advertisers. Even if you’re subscribed to Yahoo’s premium email service, your messages are subject to scans unless you opt-out. So, opting out is easy right? Well, yes, it’s just a couple of clicks, but it’s hard to find where to do it. It’s not in Settings as you would expect. Here is how you can opt-out of Yahoo’s invasive data mining of your emails.
How to Stop Yahoo’s Email Data Mining
Whether you have free or premium Yahoo mail, head to the Ad Interest Manager page and log into your account. From there, click the opt-out button in the “Your Advertising Choices” section for both the “Across the Web” and “On Yahoo” tabs. Yes, you must opt-out of both. If you only do it for one, your emails are still subject to scanning.
To verify you are indeed opted out of both. When you click on either “Across the Web” or “On Yahoo” the blue button should say “Opt-In” — which you can choose later if you want your mail scanned again for some reason.
Yahoo’s owner, Oath, a Verizon company, confirmed to the WSJ it only scans promotion emails and its systems are designed to “strip out all personal information” like names and email addresses. Still, the algorithm is complex, and the scans run deep. Of course, the best way to stop the data mining is quit Yahoo Mail altogether – which isn’t a bad idea considering 3 Billion Yahoo accounts have been compromised in the past. But if that isn’t a viable option for you, at least you’re able to take back some control of your data and privacy.
In the end, the fact Yahoo is scanning your messages shouldn’t be a surprise. Considering all these “free” online services exploit your data and/or privacy in some form. In exchange for you and your data, they provide a free and convenient app or service. Google doesn’t need to scan your email because it has so many other ways of collecting your data – even when doing a simple search. In fact, Google was recently called out for its deceptive location tracking methods. By the way, if you’re worried about that, check out our article on how to really stop Google from tracking your location.