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Canadian privacy commissioner investigates Rogers, Yahoo over email terms of service issue

Oath has confirmed that it has since amended its terms of service

Rogers office

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has confirmed that it is investigating both Rogers and Oath over recent changes to Oath’s terms of service agreement.

According to an OPC spokesperson who spoke with MobileSyrup, the OPC received a “number of calls from concerned Rogers customers” and reached out for more information.

“That being said, we have received complaints related to other aspects of the company’s terms of service agreement and have opened an investigation involving both Rogers and Yahoo/Oath,” said the OPC, in an email to MobileSyrup.

Additionally, the OPC confirmed that the company responsible for providing email services to Rogers email customers has removed the clause related to “personal data of friends and contacts” from its terms of service, as it was deemed unnecessary.

“…we’ve removed this section of our terms of service…” — Oath

The Rogers email service is powered by Yahoo, which was acquired by U.S.-based telecommunications service provider Verizon in 2017. In turn, Verizon — which also owns AOL — merged both Yahoo and AOL into a new company called Oath in 2017.

As a result of the Oath merger, Verizon chose to amalgamate the terms of service of both Yahoo and AOL into a single cohesive document.

An Oath spokesperson also confirmed to MobileSyrup that the company has chosen to remove the section responsible for “obtaining the consent of their contacts.”

“This section of our Terms of Service made clear to our users that they were responsible for obtaining the consent of their contacts when they chose to have Yahoo Messenger invite their friends to the app,” said an Oath spokesperson, in an email to MobileSyrup.

“We did not use those contacts for advertising purposes. Upon further review, we’ve removed this section of our Terms of Service as the functionality does not currently exist in our product offerings.”

“We take our customers’ privacy very seriously.” — Rogers

The Globe and Mail obtained a copy of the updated terms of service sent to Rogers email clients — as well as Canadian Yahoo account holders:

“By using the services you agree that you have obtained the consent of your friends and contacts to provide their personal information (for example: their email address or telephone number) to Oath or a third party, as applicable, and that Oath or a third party may use your name to send messages on your behalf to make the services available to your friends and contacts.”

Irate comments posted to the Rogers community forums expressed concerns about the updated terms of service.

A Rogers spokesperson told MobileSyrup that service provider is currently working with its customers to “help them use Yahoo’s opt out settings” to manage their preferences.

“We did not use those contacts for advertising purposes.” — Oath

“We take our customers’ privacy very seriously,” said Rogers, in an email to MobileSyrup. “We know some customers had concerns about Yahoo’s term related to personal contacts, so we are pleased it was removed.”

“We are working with our customers to address their questions and help them use Yahoo’s opt out settings to customize their email preferences.”

It’s important to note that Rogers doesn’t have access to the content of its customers’ email. Additionally, Rogers email clients who want to opt out of interest-based ads can do so through their Yahoo email settings.

Via: Globe and Mail

Update 01/05/2018 4:35pm ET: Story updated to clarify that Rogers email clients who don’t want to share their personal information can opt out by navigating to their Yahoo email settings.

Update 01/05/2018 5:19pm ET: Story updated to clarify that Rogers email clients who want to opt out of interest-based ads can do so by navigating to their Yahoo email settings.

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