Important Privacy Notice for Yahoo! Users

I just got this from one of my Linux mailing lists.

Yahoo is now using something called “Web Beacons” to track Yahoo Group users around the net and see what you’re doing – similar to cookies. Take a look at their updated privacy statement.
About half-way down the page, in the section “Outside the Yahoo! Network”, you’ll see a little “click here” link that will let you opt-out of their new method of snooping. You may want to do this. Once you have clicked that link, you are opted out.
Notice the “Success” message at the top of the next page. Be careful, because on that page there is a “Cancel Opt-out” button that, if clicked, will *undo* the opt-out.
Sneaky little devils!

I strongly suggest that if this applies to you, you opt-out. Where you go and what you do online is your business, not Yahoo’s.

94 thoughts on “Important Privacy Notice for Yahoo! Users”

  1. I was watching the Screensavers today and boy, the ladies love you Uncle Willie. Nemesis won the BMWNSBWWWII award (Best Movie We’ll Never See Because Wil Wheaton Wasn’t In It) from Megan and Morgan. Boy, without you, the ladies just don’t like Star Trek…

  2. Don’t forget that if you use IE it makes a complete copy of most pages you visit, and stores them in a hidden cache that you can’t see, delete, or anything. Also, if you use MS word it makes a complete copy of EVERY SINGLE FILE on your ENTIRE filesystem, when you delete a file, guess what, you only deleted the copy you knew about, wonder how you ended up with so little space? and guess what, if you run XP they built in their own little back door in so they could access these hidden files (and anything else about your computer. Oh joy!

  3. Scary enough, I heard this about yahoo last summer. I wonder if they are re-doing their “volunteers” for this option :(
    I haven’t even checked to see if they turned this option back on. Im slowly moving over to for my free email :/

  4. Thank you, thanks, and thank you again. I hate that shit. What would we all do without you? I think I’ll look around for a new free email account.
    I also saw The Screensavers tonight and agree with Morgan and Megan’s BMWNSBWWWII award for Nemesis. I did go see it but it seriously took a nose dive after the opening scene at the banquet. I went through Wesley withdrawal.

  5. Your message board blocked out my comment that was in the pointy brackets .
    I’ll try again:
    What would we all do without you? {~shudder~}
    ; )

  6. I thought I opted out a while ago. Did something change? I belong to some yahoo email groups and recently they started arriving with attached ads in addition to the embedded text ads. Maybe that’s what changed. The ads can have beacons, too.
    And yeah, I think they must store the opt-out in a cookie and that’s why you have to do it for each browser on every computer. The opt-out doesn’t ask for an email address or anything. You think they’re snooping out your IP address and storing it somewhere? Not! I bet if you delete cookies, as I do, you’ve just lost your opt-out indicator. What do you think?

  7. Thanks Wil! Appreciate the heads up. This is typical BS from all the major web “services”. They do this so that they can find ways to make money since all of the “advertising” is pretty much a dry cow. With all the pop-up stoppers and cookie killers and things running around, it’s difficult for large corporations to make any money on any click-thru advertising.
    This of course does not give any of these so called “portal services” the right to snoop into peoples’ business. Especially since there are many many many people out there that connect to their own corporate websites as part of their job. This oftem makes me wonder, for corporations that do not use VPNs or things of that nature, how they manage to keep trade secrets and
    “top secret” information so well protected. Of course, I’m not so sure about the ability of these beacons to actually retrieve such information, but the only thing a good hacker needs is an IP address. And you know as well as I do, that national governments and large corporations all over the world do quite regulary employ “skilled hackers”, and call them “security professionals”. But we, the rest of Internet society, do not see and usually are not allowed to see what these “scurity” folks actually do for the companies and governments they work for. We only know what we are told, which is, I’m sorry to say, quite often the opposite of the truth.
    Of course, I don’t have anything against hackers…
    As far as Yahoo is concerned, I have 4 email accounts over there, and I only use them to sign up for the occasional newsletter or online game site, or just as general spam catchers. I’ve been quite fortunate in that my own personal email address rarely gets spammed, maybe one piece of junk a month. I figure, why drive my SysAd insane when I can let Yahoo’s servers deal with the trash? ;}

  8. Im a little surprised this post wasnt in”LARGE WARNING CAP’S”!!!!
    Yahoo….”RAT BASTARDS”!!!!

  9. Thanks for the update. There’s no fee lunch. Ever!
    The Internet is a major player in today’s entertainment market.
    Radio and TV media use rating numbers like Neilson ratings to justify advertising rates. I think this is similar. Running a website costs too (Webmasters, communications, computers).
    This sounds like a way to determine demographics of users. Perhaps there are sinister motives. If you are a conspiracy theorists then you KNOW they have sinister motives! They want you to part with your money by using the products of their advertisers. At least they give you the change to opt out. I wonder if I can opt out of the Neilson rating?

  10. I was going to say “Thanks for the heads up” and all that, but everyone else already has. So I’ll just simply say “Ditto for me, too.” Someone’s keeping an eye out for us, and I’m glad it’s Wil Wheaton ^-^

  11. Thanks for the advice! :)
    I’m passing the information to my readers here in **Brazil**…
    The brazilian version of Yahoo! also has this ‘web beacons’ but they didn’t annouce any changes in the privacy policy (the US site has a red “updated” sign along the link).

  12. Thank you for the person who took the time to write this. As it should be not yahoo’s business but our own.
    Again thank you

  13. Thank you. I have let folks on my Yahoo Groups and some other popular message boards know about this.

  14. *Higly Likly*
    If i write:
    droop bomb in USA
    (I seriosly dont mean that It is just a exampel)
    First the computers at NSA that filters thru internet will catch the prase ” droop bomb in USA”
    then some agent will look at it to decide where does the msg come from, look up user etc ect
    and conclude if it is high risk or low risk.
    If this stops crazy/fannatic people ,i can live with it but the sad truth is that crazy people are not stupid.

  15. I don”t believe it. A trusted company like Yahoo! doing something like that. I’m not biting. This must be a hoax. (sarcasim)

  16. Thanks for the info and the link. I did almost click the ‘undo’, thanks for the warning! And thanks for the reminder about ‘all browsers, all comouters’
    Yahoo didn’t make it simple! GRRRRRRRRRRRR

  17. What I find odd is that if I go to that link and click “opt out” it says it was successful, but I’m not logged into yahoo, so how do they know WHO opted out? (just wondering outloud.) I mean, I have a couple yahoo accounts, so wouldn’t I have to opt out for each one? Makes me wonder if that “successful” page is just a dummy.

  18. *mutters to self* Damn Yahell and it’s Big Brother-ly ways…
    Thanks for passing this along, Wil. I use Yahoo quite frequently these days so I appreciate the heads up.

  19. Thanks for the warning. I was wondering why some of the junk mail I was getting had both my first name AND my last name in the subject line. And why am I getting all this crap from those matchmaker services? I am a married woman, for goodness sakes. I don’t surf for guys! Gotta get a new e-mail I think.

  20. This is the first time I am posting but I must say this seems weird to me. Its bad enough I am at the military recruitment age and have the marines tracking me to what ever universities I move too, but to have yahoo tracking my interenet usage. Thats just crazy.

  21. Thank you, Wil! I had no idea Yahoo was up to that, nor did I care too much. It’d probably be a good idea for me to ditch their “snooping” since I casually do things that would make certain industries want to hunt me down, mainly the music one.

  22. Man, they tried to do something similar to this a year or two ago and I chose not to let them track me. I bet you anything this is part of that sting operation to catch people accessing child porn. I think that anytime they change something in the user agreement they should have to email you and let you know. This sort of thing pisses me off almost as much as those calls you get that are from a machine trying to get you to buy something.
    Thanks for the heads up!

  23. Hah, I love how they call them “web beacons”. Of course in the real world, these things are called “web bugs” — because an invisible 1×1 gif isn’t exactly a bright shining visible light.

  24. Pest Control

    Okay, this just cracks me up! Everything, but everything goes around the internet at least twice. This little article about Yahoo’s web beacons first circulated over a year ago when Yahoo first published the notice. Now it’s going around again…


  26. Yahoo’s getting pushy again

    Yahoo is now using something called ‘Web Beacons’ to track Yahoo Group users around the net and see what you’re doing — similar to cookies. Take a look at their updated privacy statement.

  27. Yahoo’s getting pushy again

    Yahoo is now using something called ‘Web Beacons’ to track Yahoo Group users around the net and see what you’re doing — similar to cookies. Take a look at their updated privacy statement.

Comments are closed.