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vofsanity2
Recognised Expert
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Message 1 of 11

The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

I have been informed that there are currently 4 versions of BT Yahoo Webmail starting with Classic Mail.

Can anyone let the community know where these are described and what the differences are ?

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FrustratedCustomer68
Aspiring Expert
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Message 2 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

I'm afraid not, but BT Yahoo! providing concurrent support [sic] of four different interfaces is at best a recipe for confusion for both themselves and their users. Any reasonable person would assume that all such interfaces need to be functionally equivalent, though as your posting entitled "Unauthorised deletion of Emails by SpamGuard", and my posting entitled "BT Yahoo! Places E-Mails in Spam Folder Despite SpamGuard Being Off!!!" make clear, there is no guarantee that Mail Classic and All New Mail are actually equivalent interfaces, even if they give the impression of being so.

 

I download e-mail using POP and so seldom access the browser-based user interfaces. I did so a few moments ago however in order to find out if users can choose which interface they use. The most recent account that I set up doesn't offer any optin to change interface, but an older account which uses Mail Classic offers users the opportunity to "Switch to the newest BT Yahoo! Mail". Perhaps with an uncharacteristically clear focus on the desirability of future-proofing, the developers have not declared what the interface identified by the expression "the newest BT Yahoo! Mail" is actually named, but this option used to be one that allowed a switch to "All New Mail" only. Any switch made by users is probably one way, but for obvious reasons I haven't tested this.

 

If the the proliferation of user interfaces coupled with the one-way only opportunity for users to switch to the newest (though of course not necessarily best) is not the result of engineering incompetence on the part of BT Yahoo!, then I would suspect that it represents the implementation of a cunning plan progressively and by stealth to disable users' ability to configure important aspects of their mail service. The removal of users' ability to disable SpamGuard may be but one example of this.

 

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FrustratedCustomer68
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Message 3 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

Further to my last post, I wonder whether BT Yahoo!'s apparently irrational determination that SpamGuard be forced on for all users has resulted from their using a common application to analyse e-mails both in order to attempt to identify Spam, and to target advertisements on the basis of e-mail content (subject and/or body text).

 

This is only speculation on my part, but I recall setting up a new primary BT Yahoo! Mail account for some computer-lliterate neighbours a few months ago, and was surprised when the configuration sequence included a question on whether BT Yahoo! the user would allow automated analysis of their e-mails for the purpose of improved targeting of advertisements.

 

I don't recall being asked this question when I set up my own e-mail account several years ago, but in the light of recent discoveries I wonder whether users might no longer have any opt-out capability.

 

 

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vofsanity2
Recognised Expert
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Message 4 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

Due to the lack of response (understandable) I have contacted the moderators for the information.

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FrustratedCustomer68
Aspiring Expert
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Message 5 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

Further to my last post, I today accessed my primary e-mail account using the browser interface, mainly to check for any suspicious login activity as advised by FloFosterJenkings in Message 441 of the thread entitled "BT e-mail accounts hacked". To my surprise I was met for the first time with the following demand to review and accept the Yahoo! Terms of Service. I have italicised certain text in order to emphasise its relevance ot this thread:

 
"Our records indicate that you have not agreed to the updated Yahoo! Terms of Service("TOS"). Users need only see and accept the TOS once to have access to a broad range of services available from Yahoo!. All users, current and new, are required to agree to the new TOS in order to continue using the Service. To continue, please review the TOS and accept the terms by clicking "I agree" below. By clicking the "I agree" button below, I certify that I have read and agree to the Yahoo! Terms of Service, Yahoo! Privacy Policy and Communication Terms of Service, and to receive account related communications from Yahoo! electronically. To deliver product features, relevant advertising and abuse protection, Yahoo!’s automated systems scan and analyze all email, IM and other communications content".
 
Section 1. c) of the Communication Terms of Service says this, again with some text italicised by me:
 
" . . . you consent to allow Yahoo!’s automated systems to scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing communications content sent and received from your account (such as Mail and Messenger content including instant messages and SMS messages) including those stored in your account to, without limitation, provide personally relevant product features and content, to match and serve targeted advertising and for spam and malware detection and abuse protection. Unless expressly stated otherwise, you will not be allowed to opt out of this feature. If you consent to this ATOS [Additional Terms of Service] and communicate with non-Yahoo! users using the Services, you are responsible for notifying those users about this feature".

It therefore appears that my suspicions concerning the use of a common solution to analyse e-mails both for targeting advertising and for the supposedly accurate detection of spam was correct.
 
Recent posts on the forum appear to have led BT Yahoo! to attempt to silence critics by demanding that users accept Terms of Service, which can themselves be changed on a whim. The Terms of Service page advises users to review it periodically in order to be aware of any changes, but this task is not apparently to be facilitated by the clear identification of such changes.
 
I think that the Mail Classic interface, by including a mechanism for apparently turning off the SpamGuard, does meet the test in the TOS of expressly stating that a user can opt out of the feature by which e-mails are scanned and analysed, at least when this is done for the purpose of supposed spam detection.
 
Taking all this as a whole, I remain firmly of the view that BT Yahoo! is at fault by not disabusing users of the misleading impression that the SpamGuard cannot be turned off. There is what amounts to a fix that enables users neverthelss to continue to receive e-mail classified - in my experience almost always wrongly - as spam, but no reasonable person would seek to implement it when they had good grounds for supposing that they had already turned off the SpamGuard.
 
 
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Message 6 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

Many thanks for that post FC68. This is disturbing news. I haven't time to digest it all and investigate right now. I certainly haven't had such a message, and I refused to switch from the Classic mail interface, so I trust that I am not regarded as having consented to such interception.

What is particularly disturbing is this:

If you consent to this ATOS [Additional Terms of Service] and communicate with non-Yahoo! users using the Services, you are responsible for notifying those users about this feature".


...so we have to first email non-BTYahoo friends that such interception and analysis by BTYahoo/Yahoo of our private communication matter, maybe of a commercially sensitive nature, will take place? Before sending the actual email we wish to send, and to which they will need to reply to either give or withold permission - before we send the intended message? In case they refuse to have their email address and name logged for targeted advertising, spamming (and that is what it is, nothing but spamming, IMHO)? And if BTYahoo customers don't do this, and BT/BTYahoo/Yahoo reckon they have absolved themselves of responsibility by imposing such a glib condition hidden away in the latest T&Cs, does this mean that customers are responsible for allowing such private data and PII to be revealed to a third party? Does this mean that BT customers who don't inform non-BTyahoo communicators will be technically in breach of RIPA, which prohibits the unauthorised interception of communications?

 

This places a huge and unreasonable burden upon BT customers. I think the Interception of Communications Minister, Sir Paul Kennedy, should know about this disgraceful attempt to embroil BT customers in illegal activity. Because that is just what it appears to be. Does BT really think that every single customer will ask permission first? Surely BT has a duty of care here towards its customers, and must warn us very clearly indeed that these steps must be taken. I have seen no such warnings on any BT site, nor have I received emails warning of such a drastic change of policy, that has potentially serious legal implications for individual customers. I am staggered by such blundering ineptitude.

 

I wonder which ToS are the relevant ones. Yahoo, BTYahoo, BT throw dozens of links to different ToS, Conditions, Privacy Policies, it's a complete dog's breakfast. I thought that Consumer Protection regulations demand that such things are clear and easy to understand.

 

For instance, are the latest ones these:

http://info.yahoo.com/legal/uk/yahoo/utos/en-gb/

or these:

http://info.yahoo.com/legal/uk/yahoo/utos-173.html

or these:

http://info.yahoo.com/legal/uk/bt/terms/mail/atos.html

or these:

http://info.yahoo.com/legal/us/yahoo/mail/en-us/

?

 

How do we know which are the most recently updated ones, when there are links sending us hither and thither?

 

The last link above - according to the URL a Yahoo US site  - is the only one that includes "If you consent to this ATOS and communicate with non-Yahoo! users using the Services, you are responsible for notifying those users about this feature." as far as i can see - please correct me if I am wrong - but that condition is not on the BTYahoo Mail terms  nor on the BTYahoo Additional TOS

So does that US site supercede or predate the others? If none of these pages - all BT or UK based - have that condition, then how can it be argued it applies to BT/UK customers?

 

On that same page:

http://btsupport.custhelp.com/app/answers/blank/a_id/43585

we have

"If any of these documents contradict each other, unless otherwise specified, the terms will apply in the order set out above."  What order is that? Topmost first? Bottommost first? Chronological order?- in which case where are the date/time stamps please? Do new ToS get added to the top or the bottom of the pile?

 

But the bottom line, as has been pointed out many times, for BTYahoo Users: is"If you are accessing the Services logged in via a BTYahoo! ID, then the terms of this ATOS apply to you with respect to the Services but BT Plc remains responsible for providing all services within the BTYahoo! Service and handling your personal data. Clickhere for more information." (my bold)

 

So may we have one set of ToS and Conditions from BT please, i.e. those who are responsible for our service? Always with a date stamp at the bottom, clearly visible, and a rider stating clearly "These ToS were updated on xx/xx/xxxx at xx:xx hours and supercede all previous versions" and a warning that the ToS have changed, whenever this happens, posted clearly on the BT website, and emailed to all BT customers - just as BT emails us warning of changes to email accounts, for instance.

 

I don't remember getting such an email when the BT/BTYahoo additional ToS were added, or when the Updated ones were updated. Here's what StumbleUpon did last October:

 

As part of this effort, we have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to cover these new features, to be more transparent to our users, and to be easier to understand.

We know you (usually) enjoy reviewing legal forms as much as you enjoy doing your laundry, but please take some time to read through these changes (perhaps while you're doing your laundry). To make things easier, here are some updates we have made:

  • The Terms of Service and Privacy Policy now cover our newest products and features, such as our mobile and web applications and the ability to join StumbleUpon using your Facebook and Google accounts.
  • As you know, StumbleUpon is a personalized content discovery service, so our primary goal in collecting data is to improve the content recommendations we make to you. In our updated Privacy Policy, we provide a fuller explanation of the data we collect, how we use it, and the options we provide regarding your personal information.
  • In our mission to help you discover great content from across the Web, we clarify in our Terms of Service that while StumbleUpon refers and recommends its content, most of this content is controlled by third parties.
  • We have inserted headings in both the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for ease of reference, and made some clarifying legal changes.

The Terms of Service will be effective for existing users as of Oct. 15, 2012. The update to the Privacy Policy is effective immediately. To read them in full, please visit our new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We hope you find these updates helpful and clear.

Thanks!
StumbleUpon

 

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FrustratedCustomer68
Aspiring Expert
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Message 7 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

I agree that BT Yahoo!'s scanning and analysis of our e-mail without prior consent at the very least represents very poor service, however the scanning and analysis will be automated, and I doubt that sensitive information could be relayed to an interested third party. Also I don't think non-Yahoo! users will be subjected to advertisements, whether targeted or not, by Yahoo!. The point here seems to be that an e-mail sent by a Yahoo! user to a non-Yahoo! user, or received by a Yahoo! user from a non-Yahoo! user will be scanned and analysed by Yahoo! iin order to facilitate the process by which ads are targeted at the Yahoo! user.

 

I commend your demand for BT Yahoo! to keep its users informed of changes to the ToS etc., and to use proper versioning. Their failure to do this is probably part of attempts to confuse the more sophisticated user, and thereby make it easier to make changes convenient to themselves by stealth, but given the proliferation of user interfaces it may "only" be that they are an incompetent organisation.

 

Interestingly, the near certainty that Yahoo! use the same scaning and analysis software both to facilitate the targeting of advertisements and for the (not very accurate) detection of spam appears to pose the risk of a moral hazard arising. My thinking is this:

 

  • Yahoo! will be able to increase the revenue that they raise from advertisers if they can demonstrate that advertisements are being intelligently targeted at all users, irrespective of demographic. In this respect, as far as Yahoo! is concerned, their users are their product. Any such position would however be unreasonable, because the service provided to BT customers is included in the price we pay, and is not free.
  • It is virtually certain that, for reasons of cost, and because it would be good software engineering pratice to do so, a single application performs automated scanning and analysis of users' e-mails both for spam detection and the targeting of advertisements.
  • Users may well be resistant to having their e-mails scanned for the supposed benefits of receiving targeted advertisements, especially if they use an e-mail client and download/upload their e-mail using POP/SMTP, rather than the Yahoo! browser interface.
  • Users are however more likely to accept, albeit reluctantly, this scanning and analysis if they believe that it is tightly coupled to spam detection and filtering. The degree of user acceptance is likely to increase in proportion to their perception of the volume of, and severity of the threat from spam.
  • Hence Yahoo! has everything to gain from the continued activities of spammers, and an incentive not to take action against them.

Obviously I can't say whether the above represents the thinking within the upper echelons of Yahoo!, but it is certainly possible that it does. Perhaps I am straying into the realm of conspiracy theories, but if so, Yahoo! has been complicit in leading me there.

 

Incidentally, I didn't accept the new ToSs yesterday, but having slept on it decided that I woud do so today in order to avoid any risk to an interruption of service [sic]. Oddly however the pages asking for my acceptance was not displayed when I logged in, so it may be that Yahoo! are not recording who the identity of any refuseniks Smiley Happy

 

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FrustratedCustomer68
Aspiring Expert
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Message 8 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

I've just received an e-mail from BT Yahoo! entitled "Important changes to your BT e-mail terms". I thought that this might explain to us all that henceforth (thought actually for several months already) our e-mail will be scanned whether we like it or not, and irrespective of any previously expressed preferences. In fact however it merely stated that from 17 June 2013 one will need to log in to, or access via a client, e-mail accounts at least once every 150 days to avoid deletion.

 

I followed the links to the Ts and Cs embedded in the e-mail but the versions shown made no mention of the fact that e-mail will be scanned. No doubt this is explained solely by space being at a premium, but it is disappointing.

 

Section 10 entitled "Use of the service", paragraph d) was a bit rich however because it admonishes that no one must use the service to "spam or to send or provide unsolicited advertising or promotional material or, knowingly to receive responses to any spam, unsolicited advertising or promotional material sent or provided by any third party". For unnacountable reasons it seems that Yahoo!, the second party, are however permitted to do this, at least with respect to 'unsolicited advertising or promotional material'.

 

 

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 9 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

FrustratedCustomer68
Aspiring Expert
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Message 10 of 11

Re: The FOUR versions of BT Yahoo Webmail

Thanks. That thread is referring to the same e-mail that I was, but it remans odd that no where did the e-mail or the links within it mention the new TOSs that users apparently implicitly accept and which allow Yahoo! to scan our e-mails.

 

I never received an e-mail to alert me that henceforth e-mails would be scanned for all users, and it therefore seems that Yahoo! are willing to bury bad news when they think that they can get away with it.

 

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