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Yahoo! Rips! Up! Privacy! Policy!

Change your prefs now, to avoid spam barrage

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Yahoo! changed its privacy policy last week, contemptuously exposing all of its registered users to third-party spam, marketing offers and cold calls that they'd previously said they didn't want.

As from now, Yahoo! mail users are exposed to a dozen unwanted "Special Offers and Marketing Communications", and users who've left their phone numbers with the portal will discover that they've been "agreed" to cold calling and junk snail mail, for good measure.

You can change your preferences manually. This entails setting over a dozen "Enroll Me" options to "No". You'll also need to change the "Special offers from selected Yahoo! partners brought to you by Yahoo! Delivers" to prevent third-party spam, and most importantly (if you've left a mail address or phone number), deselect the contact options.

A robotic email sent to Yahoo! users at the weekend failed to point out that they'd just been opted-in to a blizzard of spam. Instead, the portal pleaded:

"Your privacy is very important to us here at Yahoo! … Our commitment to privacy hasn't changed."

The email then begs users to provide even more detailed personal information with which they can be spammed:

"We invite you to take this opportunity to update your personal information so you can continue to receive content and advertising that is most relevant and interesting to you."

"Please do not reply to this message"

Which by any measure, amounts to something less than full disclosure. Such a policy change is illegal, even in the most distant and barbarous seal-clubbing reaches of the British Commonwealth, Register readers point out:

"In Canada, this action is illegal," notes Jennifer Friesen-Mercurio. "The actions of any organization must comply with the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Privacy, and the protection of human rights, is enshrined within the fabric of our laws. A person has the right to not have their life exploited for profit by marketing groups. or used in any way without their knowledge or consent. Even government officials are bound within these laws."

Here's where you can delete your Yahoo! account. ®

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