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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…

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