Yahoo! Mail LawsuitA new class action lawsuit has accused Yahoo Inc. of unlawfully intercepting the contents of emails sent to Yahoo! Mail accounts from non-Yahoo! Mail accounts. Plaintiff Brian Pincus claims Yahoo illegally reviews email contents with the purpose of using the information to make money from targeted advertising, data collection and other services.

In his class action lawsuit, which was filed Friday in California federal court, Pincus argues that Yahoo’s information-gathering tactics violate California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, which prohibits the interception of communications without consent of all involved parties. He seeks injunctive relief and statutory damages.

In June, Yahoo allegedly required its users to upgrade to a new platform, which allows Yahoo to review every email sent or received through Yahoo! Mail. According to the class action lawsuit, “Yahoo admits that the scanning is not limited to virus, malware and spam protection, but also enables the creation of digital dossiers populated with sensitive personal information to enhance Yahoo’s ability to serve targeted advertising and increase its revenues.”

Following this upgrade, Yahoo! Mail users John Kevranian and Tammy Zapata filed a class action lawsuit, arguing that Yahoo’s intentional interception of email contents is not necessary for the operation of the Yahoo! Mail system and therefore amounts to a breach of privacy in violation of California law.

Pincus claims that as a non-Yahoo! Mail user, he never agreed to Yahoo’s privacy policy.

“Yahoo’s email scanning is not limited to communications among Yahoo customers; the practice includes scanning emails to and from people who do not use Yahoo’s products and never consented to the interception nor to the inclusion of the information in Yahoo’s digital dossiers,” the class action lawsuit says. This privacy policy not only applies to emails sent to and from Yahoo! Mail accounts, but also to Yahoo! Messenger communications.

The class action lawsuit cites Yahoo’s updated privacy policy, which states: “Yahoo’s automated systems 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….” Yahoo also specifies that it collects and stores this data.

These “digital dossiers” allegedly include users’ names and email addresses as well as information gathered from cookies and tracking pixels. Yahoo uses this information to serve its users with targeted advertising. According to the class action lawsuit, advertising currently accounts for 75 percent of Yahoo’s total revenue.

Putative Class Members will include any U.S. residents who are not subscribed to Yahoo services but have sent emails to or received emails from a Yahoo! Mail user with a @yahoo.com, @ymail.com or @rocketmail.com email address since June 1, 2013. According to the class action lawsuit, California’s Invasion of Privacy Act provides for injunctive relief to permanently bar Yahoo from further violations and statutory damages of at least $5,000 for each Class Member.

Pincus is represented by Frederic S. Fox, Donald R. Hall and David A. Straite of Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP.

The Yahoo! Mail Spying Class Action Lawsuit is Brian Pincus v. Yahoo Inc., Case No. 13-cv-5326, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.

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74 Comments

  • damon Harris November 18, 2013

    yahoo account farandaway65@yahoo.com

  • m. guldenstein November 19, 2013

    I have used several yahoo emails for many years and have sent hundreds, if not thousands of messages to Yahoo users!

  • mary c barnes November 20, 2013

    Yahoo has suddenly deleted all my mail from October and November. I had several that I needed to respond to. There doesn’t seem to be an avenue for help requested. I have written to Yahoo but have recieved no reply. I’m really mad at yahoo.

  • glynis stevens November 20, 2013

    this is very disturbing

  • Donna November 26, 2013

    This is invasion of privacy.

  • Donna November 26, 2013

    Invasion of privacy.

  • Dia November 26, 2013

    Were any of you forced to change your password to access your mail? The minute you did this it allowed Yahoo further access to your personal data. This should also be listed as a Cause of Action.
    How does one become a member of this class action as my spam has tripled since this new platform and password change.

  • Felicia Wolverton November 26, 2013

    So what does this mean to a person who HAS a Yahoo account and sends emails to a person WITH a Yahoo account?

  • melissa Schumacher November 26, 2013

    This is horrible !

  • wendy November 26, 2013

    How do you get signed up for this and the gmail lawsuit?

  • Valerie Sprung November 26, 2013

    I have noticed that when I research something I get pop up ads referring to that subject

  • Mary Ann November 26, 2013

    Since this has happened, I have had slower response with email, surfing and general internet use. It is frustrating when dealing with these mega companies since they feel that anything goes if it improves their profit margins. I am glad that someone has taken the initiative to call them to account for their outrageous behavior and then affect their bottom line.

  • Andrea DeBose November 26, 2013

    I have noticed that when I research something I get pop up ads referring to that subject

  • Katie Craig November 26, 2013

    What about us that send messages from a Yahoo account as well as from another email service TO Yahoo accounts? Our privacy was also breached. Surely we should also be included in this settlement!

  • Patricia Pryor November 26, 2013

    please add me..

  • tammy ikonen November 26, 2013

    I’m responding to #7 Dia…YES I WAS FORCED to change my password….REALLY pissed me off…I basically became locked out…made more panic thinking someone hacked my account!!!

  • william clinton sr. November 26, 2013

    hellomynameiswilliamclintonsr.myhomeadddressis1283fairwooddr.apt-i-8westlandmichigan48185iwoodliketoknowifi’meligibleforthelawsuitagnistyahoomyphonenumberis734-837-2076ihavehadaemailacountwiththemforsomeyearswouldsomeonefromyourofficepleasecontactmeandletmenothankyou

  • Melissa November 26, 2013

    I was locked out of my account, and had to call yahoo
    and prove I was the rightful owner of account
    I had to wait until they sent a text code to my phone.
    then they unlocked, and I had to change password.
    its like they have control over your computer now

  • Celeste Deal November 26, 2013

    I too have been locked out of my account on several occasions and had to change my password.

  • Torrey November 26, 2013

    I have had to get new password and email has slowed.
    ctorrey8@Yahoo.com

  • Sri November 26, 2013

    One account I had with Yahoo had been deleted. Another account needed a password reset.

  • Kimberly Fouche November 26, 2013

    My pass work is changed often.

  • Diana Carrington November 26, 2013

    That is just wrong

  • sharon November 26, 2013

    I have had problems with Yahoo. My account was compromised, leading to the Theft of my Identity! I, also, have had to change my password, several times!! I was contacted, with a Security Company, that showed me, all of the Invaders, that were Stealing My Identity! They were other IP Address, that showed, that, these IP Addresses, were signing in, at 4AM, and other Hours, While I was Asleep!! Again, these Invaders, were trying to Steal My Identity, Via Yahoo!! I would like to be involved, in this Class Action Lawsuit, Against Yahoo! As this is very Serious, as I have a Broken Back, and on A Fixed Income, which would leave me Homeless, due to the Neglect of Yahoo.Com! Thank You!
    Sincerely Sharon

  • Desiree November 26, 2013

    Add me to list.

  • alice November 26, 2013

    let me know if i am included in any settlements either by e-mails or by the newsletters

  • Kimberlee Milliron November 26, 2013

    I have a g-mail account for other purposes and from time to time I do email back and forth to them both. I don’t know if this qualifies me but I will pass this on to everyone.Thank you

  • grace hartner November 27, 2013

    let me know if I can be a part of this

  • Kimberly Lathan November 27, 2013

    Please send me info on how to be part of this class action

  • Gloria November 27, 2013

    I would like to know how I can be a part of this.

  • Bernard November 27, 2013

    I’ve been locked out of my yahoo
    account I really feel my personal information been jeopardized too.Please include me in law suite or show me how.Because this is very disturbing to me

  • Jean November 27, 2013

    Add my name to this.

  • Raquel November 27, 2013

    Please add me

  • Nakia November 27, 2013

    Please add me to this class action lawsuit. I had to close my yahoo account because it was compromised.

  • Bonnie November 27, 2013

    Please include me. Thanks

  • Raquel November 27, 2013

    Add me.

  • Ronald November 27, 2013

    Add me

  • Richard November 27, 2013

    Add me also. I receive email thru my wife’s account.

  • alison November 27, 2013

    Please include me also.

  • Monica Belmonte November 27, 2013

    I would like to know how I can be a part of this?

  • Rita November 27, 2013

    I want to be in on it! I hate what Yahoo did! They messed up a perfectly good email, now it takes forever to load because the advertising and everything is horrible and all geared towards making money for advertisers. And the ads that pop up definitely are related to key words they steal from my emails!

  • Rita November 27, 2013

    Just want to ad: what Yahoo is doing is horrible, and I sent them many complaints, all of which were ignored. I hate the inconvenience of having to switch to Gmail, since I have so many emails stored in Yahoo folders. I do want to sue them, because they turned evil and greedy.

  • Joyce Terry November 27, 2013

    I quit using Yahoo , but still have many friends/family who use it. I have gotten tons of garbage as a result. Please COUNT ME IT.

  • tamika mccall November 27, 2013

    please include me.

  • Annie Baker-Reed November 27, 2013

    Please include me in this.

  • Chanda Millard November 27, 2013

    I would like to be included. I see ads on the right side of the screen that pertain to information found in my emails, not due to searches. This is a violation of privacy!

  • Cheri Snoddy November 27, 2013

    Please add me. Thanks!

  • tracy foster November 27, 2013

    I receive scam emails from my sister and my fiancee email but its not them sending the emails I have even gotten them to myself from myself please add me to this.

  • anita temple November 27, 2013

    me too sign me up!

  • Diane kunkle November 27, 2013

    Please sign me up I receive side bar advertisements I do not have yahoo account but family and friends do use yahoo

  • VANESSA ROBISON November 27, 2013

    I receive scam emails almost every other day…my SPAM folder stays full, many others I delete. Please add me.

  • Lavon t Rogers November 28, 2013

    I have been getting email from my spam , so I no that is true that is so wrong for them to do that

  • Liz Landon November 28, 2013

    spam, spam, spam

  • Josh November 28, 2013

    Please add me to this I get unwanted ads all the times

  • Jo Carrasco November 28, 2013

    add me too

  • Diane November 29, 2013

    Please add me!

  • Aprel Glass November 30, 2013

    Please add my name to the list.

  • Renee Earlie-colay November 30, 2013

    Please add me. I used to have yahoo but discontinued it due to the numerous spam and adds. I have friends and relatives with yahoo and rocketmail but I have received unknown yahoo mail through my gmail account which I always delete. Please add me.

  • Joanne Fleming November 30, 2013

    Please add me to the list. I receive spam mail from my sister and I let her know what’s going on with her mail. Although my account is still open I cannot access the account so I opened a Gmail account.

  • tammi dibrango December 1, 2013

    Add me

  • Andriana Smith December 1, 2013

    please add me. my e-mail hasbeen tamperd with

  • julia conner December 1, 2013

    Add me please. Thanks

  • Brian Akiona December 1, 2013

    Please include me on the list of people who have a Yahoo Mail account. I’ve had my Yahoo classic mailbox format for years but now I have been given a new mailbox configuration that doesn’t work as good as my classic mail did. I have also been receiving advertising e-mail solicitations that pop -up when I’m at a site trying to sell me stuff that I never gave my info to, yet they are all over my mailbox content.

  • Peggy Quinn December 2, 2013

    add me to the list

  • heather armstrong December 2, 2013

    add me please

  • Jacqueline Robinson December 3, 2013

    I have received emails from people with Yahoo accounts as well as sent emails out to people with Yahoo accounts during the time before and after June 1, 2013. I don’t have a Yahoo account. I would like to take part in this lawsuit.

  • Heather Heron December 5, 2013

    Please add me to this list…. Thank You

  • David Peveler December 5, 2013

    Add me to this. I have sent and received emails from yahoo users

  • Brent K. December 30, 2013

    How do I file a claim?

  • michael norsworthy December 30, 2013

    i was lock out several time and had to change my email address everytime so how can i file a claim

  • Nancy haugen January 1, 2014

    What do I do to be considered for inclusion in this action?

  • damon williams January 6, 2014

    how do i join..i have been using yahoo mail for years now

  • P Anderson January 11, 2014

    Thought there was something going on….add me to the list please. Thanks.

  • ronald reagan March 26, 2014

    send me your name, social security number, date of birth, and home address. i’ll add you to the suit. thank you.

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