How-To

How to Stop Yahoo from Scanning Your Email to Sell Your Data

Yahoo! is one of the last major email providers scanning your email to sell the data to advertisers. If you can’t cancel your account, you can opt-out of the scans. Here’s how to do it.

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.


2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dirgster  

    AT&T’s webmail accounts are run by Yahoo! Is data mining also taken place in those AT&T/Yahoo! accounts? If so, where are the settings for blocking data mining in these accounts? Your help is much appreciated!
    I have learned much from your daily newsletters and thank you for your valuable tips!

  2. beergas  

    Thanks. Had to actually log out & back in to see Out was changed to In in blue for both.
    I kept banging away at the Opt Out blue button for both expecting a dynamic switch.
    Article never really clear about that. But does work. Cool one less worry.
    Not a giant fan of Yahoo other than as a garbage backup. Seems to block crud emails ok
    when told to. Just using Reply often scrambles the included reply message with all those
    indented carrots < symbols. Me too lazy to fig out why. Heck took me while to fig out how
    to get the bloody thing to actually include a file/doc/image. Gotta hit the Attach button &
    couple other hoops. But overall it's usually there as a service & quick enough.

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