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Yahoo!’s bizarre email recycling decision comes back to haunt the company

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A scant four months after we first broke the news that Yahoo! has implemented a bizarre system of recycling old email addresses once users close their account, things have got a whole lot worse. As we predicted at the time in our report, ‘this seems like one of the most bizarre things we’ve heard for a long time, and something which is potentially open to massive abuse if people aren’t careful.’

Well guess what? The BBC and Information Week yesterday reported about cases where users have been receiving Yahoo! email messages intended for the previous owner with highly sensitive data in them. In case you’re wondering, that is probably not a good thing.

As Mike Rispoli, spokesman for Privacy International says, “This email recycling scheme, an effort to re-engage old users and attract new ones, is resulting in some of our most intimate data being accessed by someone we don’t know and without our knowledge…this issue needs to be addressed immediately by Yahoo…”

We couldn’t agree more Mike. We’ll keep an eye on this issue as it unfolds, but it’s probably going to take a massively serious breach of privacy with a celebrity or some other important person before the company sees sense and rolls back this ridiculous idea.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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