A judge in the USA has ruled that a group of people can launch a class action lawsuit against Yahoo for spying on emails.
The allegation is that Yahoo.inc spied on emails sent via other email services to Yahoo. It is also accused of spying on Yahoo emails sent to non-Yahoo accounts. The information was then allegedly used to boost advertising revenue.
Just who was affected is not clear.
According to Reuters "In a decision late Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California said people who sent emails to or received emails from Yahoo Mail subscribers since Oct. 2, 2011 may sue as a group under the federal Stored Communications Act for alleged privacy violations. She also said a class of non-Yahoo Mail subscribers in California since Oct. 2, 2012 may sue as a group under that state's Invasion of Privacy Act."
NSA analyst Edward Snowden revealed the extent of government spying on citizens and world leaders; they claim that they do not break any rules or laws and only spy to protect 'homeland security' but few people believe that.
We now know that governments in many countries in the west actively employ snooping techniques on citizens. The new Tory majority government in the UK hopes to extend spying using the threat of terrorism as a reason or excuse.
The Reuters report continues "Holders of non-Yahoo Mail accounts accused Yahoo of copying and then analyzing their emails, including keywords and attachments, with a goal of creating "targeted advertising" for its estimated 275 million Yahoo Mail subscribers, in addition to detecting spam and malware. They sought an injunction barring the alleged interceptions, as well as damages. Yahoo in 2014 generated 79 percent of its revenue from search and display advertising."
Yahoo claim that continuing to email Yahoo users with knowledge of the spying was tantamount to compliance. As Yahoo tries to wriggle off the hook Koh claims similar claims against Google and Gmail could not be challenged in law.
"Yahoo, in its FAQ on Mail, says that its automated systems scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing messages to detect, among other things, certain keywords, partly to provide interest-based ads but also to detect viruses and malware."
The lawsuit alleges Yahoo provides no mechanism for non-Yahoo Mail users to opt out of Yahoo's scanning practices.