Yahoo Criticized over Plan to Recycle Dormant User Accounts
June 20, 2013 8:44 AM
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Critics say recycling of old accounts could lead to identity theft
has operated its own e-mail service (free and paid) for many years, and many of us at one point in time have owned (or still own) a Yahoo email address. As you can imagine, a huge number of people all around the world subscribed to Yahoo's services, used the accounts for a while, and then abandoned the account.
The problem for Yahoo and users who actually want to use the Yahoo e-mail service is that having millions of dormant accounts taking up usable names kept some people from using the e-mail service.
As a result, Yahoo announced that it plans to recycle inactive user IDs. Yahoo's plan would take any accounts that have been inactive for more than 12 months and make them available for use by other users.
[Image Source: Inquirer.net]
Privacy advocates are now rallying against Yahoo's plans saying that by recycling inactive user IDs, Yahoo could allow spammers and other nefarious users to assume the identity of the previous account holder. Yahoo says that it has safeguards in place and is coordinating with other web companies such as Google and Amazon to minimize any risk of identity theft.
"[The possibility of identity theft is] something we are aware of and we've gone through a bunch of different steps to mitigate that concern," said Dylan Casey, a senior director for consumer platforms. "We put a lot of thought, a lot of resources dedicated to this project."
Yahoo will also be unsubscribing inactive accounts from all mailing lists to prevent the new account holders from getting content they didn't ask for.
"Can I tell you with 100 percent certainty that it's absolutely impossible for anything to happen? No. But we're going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that nothing bad happens to our users," Casey added.
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RE: more a user problem then yahoo
6/20/2013 11:28:05 AM
This is also a problem both ways:
- new user should be informed it is an already used account, so he can choose another one (I found myself getting SMSs and call with sensitive information for someone else... with a recycled phone number)
- old user may get sensitive information public to other people. So I agree with your suggestion of frozen account (bounce back as if it didn't exist), but I would suggest at least another 12 months
Another hypothesis would be that all servers would provide burner accounts...
"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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