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Yahoo Scanning People’s Email For Information To Sell To Advertisers – WSJ

Yahoo Scanning People’s Email For Information To Sell To Advertisers – WSJ

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The Wall Street Journal is this week reporting that Yahoo is scanning people’s email for information to sell to advertisers.

According to the report, the tech giant scans more than 200 million Yahoo Mail inboxes for information about what people have bought, such as receipts from department stores or automotive loan companies.

Executives at Yahoo, which was bought by Verizon in June 2017 and placed under its Oath umbrella, have been pitching interest-based advertising to marketers.

Yahoo is reported to put emails into different categories; so if someone receives a flight confirmation, they might be put into a ‘frequent traveler’ group. That person might then see advertising for hotel chains that might appear on other websites.

AOL, also owned by Oath, scans emails in this way as well, the Journal’s report said.

Data is aggregated and anonymized, so advertisers wouldn’t have access to an individual’s information.

This type of scanning only applies to emails from organizations and not personal messages, according to Oath’s vice president of data, measurements and insights. Oath’s privacy pages explain that the company makes “educated guesses” about people’s interests based on their activity on its sites and apps and provides ads relevant to what appears online.

Previously, Google announced in June 2017 that it would no longer scan Gmail messages for ad personalization because of users’ privacy concerns.

Oath did not provide comment, but its privacy center states that people can opt out of interest-based ads, and that links to its privacy controls page can be found within Yahoo Mail and other Oath sites.

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