Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from David Appell

Keeping Email Private

Yahoo is, so far, standing by its policy of protecting the privacy of its email subscribers. But the policy is under attack by the parents of a Marine who was recently killed in Iraq, who want to read his email.Don’t…

  • December 22, 2004

Yahoo is, so far, standing by its policy of protecting the privacy of its email subscribers. But the policy is under attack by the parents of a Marine who was recently killed in Iraq, who want to read his email.

Don’t you just love how special circumstances manage to drill their way into every reasonable policy?

The parent’s response is understandable. Yet I believe their wish should not be granted. Who knows what this Marine – 20-year-old Justin M. Ellsworth — was using his Yahoo account for? Everyone knows that Yahoo accounts are used for those instances when one does not want to make their primary email address public. Medication refills. Flirting with that special girl you met in high school. Magazine subscriptions.

I was going to check with the U.S. Postal Service to see what their policy on dead people is, but really, I don’t think it matters. Private email ought to stay private, regardless of who wants to get their hands on it. Here’s hoping Yahoo stays the course…

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.