Oath is the Umbrella company that houses both Yahoo and AOL.
Emails are one of the confidential stuff that nobody ever wants to share with anyone. There is pretty much information about an individual in the email chains and other personal details too. But what if, companies scan your emails for their financial gains.
Yes, in a new set of reports by the Wall Street Journal, the emails of Yahoo and AOL users’ are under the direct scanner of the advertisers, who are found to be using the email details to target the users with their desired products.
The report pointed out towards the Oath, a unit of Verizon Communications that owns both Yahoo and AOL, which “has been pitching a service to advertisers that analyzes more than 200 million Yahoo Mail inboxes and the rich user data they contain, searching for clues about what products those users might buy, said people who have attended Oath’s presentations as well as current and former employees.”
The information collected through the Yahoo and AOL mail chains are used by the advertisers to target the user with specific products and services.
With this revelation, the debate of exploiting the users' data for personal benefits by the top companies like Google and Verizon has taken center stage. Sometimes, such a breach also lands the user with financial setbacks. In a last year’s announcement, Google pledged not to look into the email of its users, but as per industry reports, the tech giant is still indulged in the unethical practice. Microsoft, another leader of the tech industry claims to have never emails for ad data, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Doug Sharp, Oath’s vice president of data, told the WSJ, “email scanning has become one of the company’s most effective methods for improving ad targeting.” Sharp claims that the email scanning by the company only extends to commercial and promotional emails.
The email scanning of the Yahoo and AOL users’ by the Oath’s subsidiaries looks to follow the terms of services, as updated by the umbrella company last year, which asserts that “Oath analyzes and stores all communications content, including email content from the incoming and outgoing mail. This allows us to deliver, personalize and develop relevant features, content, advertising, and Services.”
The worst part is that the user can’t sideline the company policies and on logging into the account on Yahoo or AOL, the user is welcomed with the option to agree to the terms or decide later.
The Verizon acquired AOL and Yahoo in 2015 and 2017 respectively and after that the American wireless carrier the two companies under one umbrella company named Oath. Apart from Yahoo and AOL, the other notable properties running under Oath Inc. include Huffington Post, Engadget, Tumblr, and Techcrunch.
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