Starting today, Yahoo Mail as you knew it will no longer exist. Yahoo Mail Classic, that is. If you use Yahoo Mail, you now need to switch to the new version of Mail if you plan to continue using it. Take it or leave it.

geekinsider_yahoo

New Terms of Service – Mail Monitoring

But that’s not all. To use the new version of Mail, you need to accept new terms of service, and a new privacy policy – terms that most people may not necessarily be happy with.

When you upgrade, you will be accepting our Communications Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. This includes the acceptance of automated content scanning and analyzing of your communications content.

Basically, Yahoo is telling you that your messages and chats, are no longer for-your-eyes-only. The Terms Of Service do mention that all the reading and analysis of your messages will be done by ‘Automated Systems’, and that this will be done to provide adverts and provide abuse protection. But this hasn’t stopped people from freaking out over this perceived invasion of privacy.

Yahoo!’s automated systems scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing communications content sent and received from your account (such as Mail and Messenger content including instant messages and SMS messages) including those stored in your account to, without limitation, provide personally relevant product features and content, to match and serve targeted advertising and for spam and malware detection and abuse protection.

Gmail – Been there, done that

Yahoo isn’t the first mail provider to be indulging in such business. Google has been doing this for a long time – Gmail already provides targeted advertisements on users based on their mail content and search history. The practice has come under unusually large fire from Microsoft – remember its Scroogled campaign?

However, Gmail has made an effort to reassure users that their data is safe. It explains its ad mechanisms in Gmail help, and has gone on record to say no one will ever be reading your mail.

Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information.”

Yahoo Mail, on the other hand, has done no such thing. All you find in its privacy policy is the standard stated protection from 3rd parties.

Yahoo! Mail may include interactive mail features from 3rd parties as well. Your personally identifiable information is not directly shared with the 3rd party without your consent.

Users have the option of turning off contextual advertisements – but they do not have the option of stopping Yahoo from monitoring their mail. Yahoo is serious about this. You can either download all your mail to an IMAP client, or close your account. If you’re a Premium Mail Plus user, you can get a refund.

If you were intending to switch from Yahoo Mail in the near future, now is a good time. If privacy is a big concern to you, now may be a good time to consider your options.