Yahoo Shuts Down Mail Classic, Forces Switch To New Version That Scans Your Emails To Target Ads

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The New “Handmade” (Part Three)

Starting the week of June 3rd, tomorrow, Yahoo is discontinuing Mail Classic. It’s requiring all Mail users to switch to the new version of Mail and accept a TOS/Privacy Policy update that lets it scan emails to “deliver product features, relevant advertising, and abuse protection”. You can opt out of the ads, but if you don’t want to be scanned, you have to ditch Yahoo Mail.

Yahoo launched the new version of Mail in December, and announced the discontinuation of Classic back in April. However, it didn’t mention anything about the new terms of service and privacy policy until it just began sending Classic users an email about having to switch. In an aptly named Help center entry “Do I have to upgrade to the new Yahoo! Mail?”, the company explains

“Beginning the week of June 3, 2013, older versions of Yahoo! Mail (including Yahoo! Mail Classic) will no longer be available. After that, you can access your Yahoo! Mail only if you upgrade to the new version. 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.”

Those who upgrade can opt out of contextual ads through Yahoo’s Ad Manager. Yahoo bluntly tells users who refuse its new policies that they should either download their mail to another IMAP client, or close their account. Premium Mail Plus users who want to cancel their accounts can get a prorated refund.

New Yahoo Mail

Some are labeling the switch an aggressive invasion of privacy. An anonymous Jottit user writes: “Yahoo can now openly troll through email for personal information that it can share or hold onto indefinitely. Gay and haven’t come out yet? Yahoo knows…”

However, as commenters on Hacker News note, Gmail has long scanned your email to show you related ads. Even if you use a system like StartMail that doesn’t scan your messages, the system your conversation partners use might not be so hands-off. And as many warn, anything you send in an email could end up public, so keep the naughty stuff off the web.