If You Get Your Email Via Oath, They May Be Trolling The Contents Of Your Email To Sell To Advertisers

There’s a story (assuming that you can get past the paywall) in the Wall Street Journal that Oath scanned millions of Yahoo/AOL mailboxes for things like receipts, invoices, loan agreements and such which they can then use for customer profiling purposes. Of course then those profiles get sold to advertisers so that Oath can make money. And Oath isn’t apologizing for this. Doug Sharp, VP, Data, Measurement & Insights at Oath had this to say:

Email is an expensive system, I think it’s reasonable and ethical to expect the ‘value exchange,’ if you’ve got this mail service and there is advertising going on.

Translation: If you’re not paying for the service, you are the product.

Now, frequent readers may be saying “Wait…. That sounds familiar.” And it should. This was the chief reason that Canadian telco Rogers faced an epic backlash earlier this year when the terms of service changed for Rogers customers to allow Oath who serves up email for Rogers to scan the inboxes of those who used Rogers e-mail addresses. Now while this blowback was addressed in Canada (Mostly… The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is still looking into this and a further smackdown may yet inbound), the rest of world now has to deal with this. That’s why when this issue flared up in Canada, I offered up this option and this option in terms of email providers that don’t demand that you become the product. Thus if this whole idea of Oath reading your email bothers you, and you don’t want to be bothered with turning off the scanning on the relevant AOL or Yahoo Privacy pages, you can go elsewhere and deprive Oath of some money. .

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