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Yahoo Treading Carefully Before Exposing More Private Data 107

Posted by kdawson
from the can-you-say-buzz dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Yahoo hopes to turn on a new sharing option without turning off its users. The company is trying to avoid the privacy backlash that has befallen Facebook and Google. It's advising its email account holders, all 280M of them, to review their privacy settings in advance of Yahoo's new features that will share users' online activities and interests with people in their address books, unless they take steps to prevent it."
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Yahoo Treading Carefully Before Exposing More Private Data

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  • Oh, FFS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <(ememalb) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:17PM (#32447190) Homepage Journal

    STOP IT WITH THE GODDAMNED "WE'RE GONNA SHARE YOUR ONLINE LIFE" bullshit!

    Seriously. DO NOT WANT.

    Yeah, great, you can "opt out". How about just don't fucking do it in the first place, Yahoo!?

    Christ riding a sheep, this is retarded.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:19PM (#32447226) Journal
    The right way to do it is to leave it off by default. Assuming your primary concern is to protect users' privacy. Which it isn't: they mainly want to bring this new feature (whatever it is) to the majority of people whom they think will like it, without upsetting a (vocal) minority of users who really care about privacy.
  • Re:Oh, FFS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:21PM (#32447274)

    Indeed: I still have my psycho ex-girlfriend in my address book, and letting her know when I'm online is hardly high in my priority list.

    Address books are for addresses, not for people I want to have access to all kinds of information about my life.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:22PM (#32447290) Homepage

    I'm sure the reason for this feature has less to do with adding new functionality for users than it has to do with more advertising opportunities.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:25PM (#32447346) Journal

    Yahoo's new features that will share users' online activities and interests with people in their address books

    So you can do a lot of things on Yahoo! like play chess, manage finances or e-mail. But what level of detail is going to be shared and for what possible reason?

    Let's take the most basic possibility -- similar to XBox Live -- where it says eldavojohn is playing Futurama. You only ever get a few pieces of data: my name, I'm online and my activity. But it doesn't popup with "eldavojohn has died" or "eldavojohn has reached achievement X." The specifics are hidden resulting in this only facilitating friends noticing they're online and playing together. Might work with Yahoo! Chess but it I can't see it working for finances or e-mail. "Hey, eldavojohn's online, let's read up on some mutual funds together!" Or, "eldavojohn's e-mailing, I should e-mail with him!" Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. This only sense this makes is if you're one of those "microbloggers" that likes to inform everyone what you're eating and when you're urinating because you have some weird infatuation with yourself.

    The most extreme possibility is far worse. What if you knew who I was playing chess with, what stocks I was buying and who I was e-mailing. If this is the case then Yahoo! could be poised to overtake Facebook as the number one source of evidence in divorce proceedings [cnn.com]. I think anyone would agree that this extreme is highly undesirable.

    So I don't get it. Yahoo! is trying to build a better service by switching this on? How are they planning to do this? The cynic in me is defaulting to some sort of money related advertising scheme whereby you say surely whatever you share with your friends can be shared with an advertiser. There is some money in that [thestar.com]. Is that already baked into this privacy statement or will that be done behind your back or will that be a future "feature"?

  • Re:Oh, FFS! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by asukasoryu (1804858) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:26PM (#32447354)
    I've never given Yahoo or Google a dime for the use of their services. They have worked quite well and I appreciate Yahoo notifying me before changing the privacy policy. Configuring my security setting does not seem like a big deal. If you don't like Yahoo's new policy, walk.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:27PM (#32447376)
    Why is this even needed? Seriously can anyone name a single benefit for the end user? No one cares what blogs you read, what sites you visit, etc. if someone really cared they'd just ask you.

    This is a huge privacy risk and annoyance for no benefit
  • This is reminiscent of the "negative billing" scams, whee if you don't opt out, you're automatically going to be subscribed for $EXTRA_CRAP_SERVICE_I_DONT_WANT at $X_MORE_PER_MONTH.

    Seriously, Yahoo, sharing is not always a 'Good Thing' [google.com] Some things are better kept private [google.com]

  • by alex-tokar (1727590) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:35PM (#32447538) Homepage
    Apparently it's more 'social'. I still don't get those 'social' networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. They are also a huge annoyance for no benefit at all.
  • Re:Oh, FFS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <(ememalb) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:36PM (#32447574) Homepage Journal

    I don't have a yahoo account.

    The point remains the same. Opt IN not Opt OUT.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:39PM (#32447612)

    Why is this even needed?

    Because Yahoo! shareholder's want their stock value to grow, and social networking is perceived as a way of acheiving that.

    Social networking features promote stickiness (which helps advertising sales) and provide something that third party developers can leverage to provide additional social apps, which then further promote stickiness, and help sell more ads.

    Seriously can anyone name a single benefit for the end user?

    More competition in the social networking space means more consumer choice in that space. If you aren't interested in social networking features, that's not a benefit to you, but social networking is a big thing in the market specifically because lots of end users are interested in those features.

  • Re:Oh, FFS! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:41PM (#32447638) Homepage

    Configuring the security settings is a big deal, as it means the whole thing is opt-out, not opt-in, which in turn means that lots of people will end up sharing data that they don't want to share. What is especially stupid is sharing data with all people in your address book, that is not the place to look for trustworthy friends, that's just a place for people you have had contact with.

  • Re:Oh, FFS! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asukasoryu (1804858) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:55PM (#32447896)
    I understand what everyone is ranting about. But this is a free service. My opinion is that people can find an alternative if they don't like Yahoo's policies. Why does everyone feel entitled? If Yahoo tells you up front what you're signing up for when you use their service, they have the right to make the default opt-out. I don't like it but I won't fault Yahoo for it.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:59PM (#32447982) Homepage

    We need a general legal prohibition against implicit consent. We need to legislate that any contract provision which allows one party to modify the terms of the contract without the explicit consent of the other party is null and void. Consent cannot be given merely by continuing to use the service or pay for it. If companies want to change terms, they should have to get explicit consent, given as a transaction separate from ordinary use of the product or service. This should be an FTC rule.

    The effect is that when a company changes something, some of the customers are going to move to a competitor. That's in line with the basic principles of capitalism.

  • Re:Oh, FFS! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spazdor (902907) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:47PM (#32448760)

    I have a really novel Idea, you guys.

    What if they implemented this as a feature you can turn on?

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:51PM (#32448840) Journal

    But it's not "free". I'm paying them, just not in money.

    Yahoo! and Google both offer me services in return for my divulging information which is to be used for specific purposes, which are laid out in the user agreement.

    If they want to change that agreement, the changes should be opt-in, and if I choose not to opt in it's acceptable to me that they disable or delete my account. It is NOT acceptable to me that inaction on my part will result in divulging information that was previously covered under a privacy policy, unless they actively inform me that the policy is changing, and present me with a choice to either accept the new terms, opt out of them (if they wish to offer that as an option), or delete my account.

    I have a Yahoo! account. It's very old. I don't use it for email any more because the account is up to several thousand spams a day, but I do still use the account for other services. I'm not going to see any service change emails they send me. Until and unless they put a box in front of me telling me how they want to further profits from my use of my account, they do not have the right to change the terms of our agreement.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"

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