Yahoo! is being criticised for the new Ts & Cs for its webmail service, which give it the right to scan your emails as well as making you responsible for telling anyone who might be emailing you, but the ICO has no problem with the changes.
Such scanning has been common for some time; Google was the first to scan all messages. But this led some to choose Yahoo! on the basis that it did not carry out such snooping.
Even more controversially, Yahoo! suggests it is the users' job to warn anyone who emails them that their messages will also be scanned.
Consumer lobby group Which?'s in-house lawyer Georgina Nelson said: "The obligation to notify those who email you that their message will be scanned is nonsensical and unrealistic. When exactly are you supposed to do this?"
The changes come as part of Yahoo!'s email upgrade. The company said all users will see a pop-up when they make the change.
Yahoo told PC Advisor that anyone who didn't like the changes should simply keep using their old account. But Yahoo! did say it would continue to scan old-school accounts for spam.
An ICO spokeswoman said: “We’ve spoken to Yahoo about their email scanning feature. As with any business or organisation that changes the way its customer data is used, Yahoo has an obligation to be upfront with their users to make sure their information is being processed fairly. This includes making sure they have clear and accessible privacy notices which will allow users to make informed decisions in relation to privacy and other aspects of the service.”®