Not only Facebook

Buried in an email from Yahoo, I found

So I opted out. But how I now appear to them still includes my device IP address, so I don’t know if that really achieved much.

The email led me to the revised terms of service for Yahoo mail,and much much more (see their illustration) now part of the conglomerate formerly known as AOL-Verizon:

“Hi, we’re Oath

Oath is home to the sites and apps you know and love, such as HuffPost, Tumblr, Yahoo Mail, TechCrunch and many more.

Our stories and services connect with 1 billion people around the world every day.

Our technologies make sure you have experiences that reflect your passions, interests and goals.

So you feel like one in a billion.”

Which is exactly how I do feel right now. One billion bought and sold.

Continuing on the Oath website,

“It takes a team

Sometimes it takes teamwork to bring you the experiences that you expect and want. We may provide information to our parent company Verizon, our partners and other parties for product improvements, research and analysis, and to help them provide you with more relevant experiences and ads.”

So they can take my individual data and sell it to third parties to help them decide what ads to send me. Like Facebook did with Cambridge Analytica, but this time I’ve agreed in advance.

But wait; can’t I adjust my settings? Clicking on Your Data Controls, I get

“Take the controls

Your privacy is as important to us as it is to you. That’s why we give you controls. You can see and manage your account information, marketing preferences, location data, search history and more.”

There’s a Learn More tab, so I clicked on it, and got

“Take the controls

Think of data as a set of tools. We use them to build the best possible site and app experiences, but you have controls. You can visit our Privacy Center at any time to review, manage, and download your data.”

So I clicked on Privacy Center, and got

“The requested URL was not found on this server.

Please check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization. If you’re having trouble locating a destination on Yahoo, try visiting the Yahoo home page or look through a list of Yahoo’s online services. Also, you may find what you’re looking for if you try searching below.”

I would be interested in other people’s experiences.


About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on April 18, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This privacy problem may resolve itself over time. The publishing model of social media sites, where vast numbers of people can post pretty much anything, inevitably leads to a low signal to noise ratio. People are willing to put up with the massive junk pile now because connecting everybody to everybody is a novel experience. Sooner or later it will no longer be novel, and then I predict users will migrate back to the more traditional edited content publishing model, which has dominated all forms of media for a long time, for a good reason.

    If edited media is financed by ad revenue the privacy problem may remain, but at least in my own experience I find I’m increasingly avoiding anything with ads, and increasingly willing to pay for an ad free experience. As example, like many we’ve switched from cable to streaming TV. The absence of ads increases the quality of the TV experience to such a degree that we’re happy to pay the subscription fees.

    When I do use ad supported media (such as NPR) I religiously turn the ads off, every single time. I imagine that lots of people are doing this, which would seem to make advertising less and less effective. I suspect the ad model only works on NPR because the advertisers have no idea who is actually listening.

    The only form of social media I use is forums. The past, and perhaps the future too?


  2. I got the exact same message. My antediluvian stance of being on no social media, nor having an account with Google, gets more justifiable every day. If inconvenient. But I am on Flickr! Aack!

    Meanwhile, my WP autofill data here has been filled in in reverse order from what I’m used to. Now I worry that hitting Post will expose my email addy. Oh, the (lack of) humanity!


    • Diane, I have bad news for you. I can see your email and IP addresses in my email notification of your comment, although it is not shwn to other readers here. I don’t know where else it’s visible in the course of your normal online activity.


  3. Might I suggest if huge numbers of people spent a few minutes on line looking up absolutely anything how would the advertisers cope ?
    Would it not lay a false trail and who could say just what sort of items Joe Blogs was interested in, after all billions spend hours on face book polishing their images why not try a bit of false polishing ?


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