Yahoo Sued For Reading Non-Yahoo Mails

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Yahoo Inc is in hot soup after reading non-yahoo mails. A US Judge ordered Yahoo Inc to face a nationwide class-action lawsuit accusing it of illegally intercepting the content of emails sent to Yahoo Mail subscribers from non-Yahoo Mail accounts, and using the information to boost advertising revenue.

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. As a result, a class of non-Yahoo Mail subscribers in California since Oct. 2, 2012 may sue Yahoo as a group under that state’s Invasion of Privacy Act.

People who have 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. A class action can make it easier to obtain larger damages and more sweeping remedies at lower cost. The plaintiffs estimated that the nationwide class of non-Yahoo Mail subscribers has more than 1 million members.

Yahoo has currently not commented on the case since it’s an active litigation. Yahoo has a defense in court that the subscribers consented on how yahoo uses their information but Koh rejected Yahoo’s arguments and that the alleged injuries were too disparate to justify class certification. Koh further distinguished the case from her March 2014 refusal to certify a similar class action against Google Inc on behalf of Gmail and non-Gmail subscribers because it was hard to determine which users consented to Google’s activity. Koh wrote that Yahoo may have to adjust its scanning practices on an individual basis. The injured parties claim a relief from Yahoo.

A person’s privacy is very important, Article 31 of The Kenyan Constitution 2010 stipulates that every person has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have their person, home or property searched, their possessions seized, information relating to their family or private affairs unnecessarily required or revealed or the privacy of their communications infringed.

The supreme law must be upheld as provided by the Constitution, Cyprian Nyakundi in his blog wrote that Safaricom does not respect or value people’s privacy and Kenyans do not understand their privacy matters, that explains why Safaricom has managed to get away with cases relating to people’s private information.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Erick Vateta
Tech Editor at Kachwanya.com
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Erick Vateta is a lawyer by training, poet, script and creative writer by talent, a model, and tech enthusiast. He covers International tech trends, data security and cyber attacks.
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