Yahoo defends its decision to release inactive Yahoo! Mail IDs

Yahoo recently said that it was freeing up inactive mail IDs and releasing them back to the public. It had announced that it would free-up Yahoo ID’s that have been inactive for at least 12 months. Such ID’s will then be made available to users subsequently. However this announcement did not go down well with many users and security experts for obvious reasons. There would be strong chances of the released IDs being misused by scammers.

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When Wired voiced out its reservation about this policy, Yahoo released a statement attempting to defend its change in policy:

Our goal with reclaiming inactive Yahoo! IDs is to free-up desirable namespace for our users. We’re committed and confident in our ability to do this in a way that’s safe, secure and protects our users’ data. It’s important to note that the vast majority of these inactive Yahoo! IDs don’t have a mailbox associated with them. Any personal data and private content associated with these accounts will be deleted and will not be accessible to the new account holder.

To ensure that these accounts are recycled safely and securely, we’re doing several things. We will have a 30-day period between deactivation and before we recycle these IDs for new users. During this time, we’ll send bounce back emails alerting senders that the deactivated account no longer exists. We will also unsubscribe these accounts from commercial emails such as newsletters and email alerts, among others. Upon deactivation, we will send notification for these potentially recycled accounts to merchants, e-commerce sites, financial institutions, social networks, email providers and other online properties.

What do you think of this move by Yahoo and this statement it has issued in its defense?

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Roger Dunning is a technology evangelist. He lives in New York with his wife and pet dog. You can find him 24×7 on the Internet.