New changes to email accounts at Yahoo have the potential to frustrate marketers and cause privacy concerns across the globe.

Privacy has never been so important to all of us, and invasion of privacy has never been feared as it is today.

Countless reports over the past few years around hacking and miss-use of data has reached the top of the news headlines, which makes Yahoo!’s recent move in releasing dormant email accounts, all the more puzzling.

In the past few months, Yahoo! has become more aggressive about attempting to reactivate email accounts, and if unsuccessful, invalidating those “inactive” email addresses so that someone else can use it.

Ultimately, they are trying to get inactive users to reclaim their Yahoo! email address by sending out email messages to these users’ alternative addresses similar to the following:

Yahoo! has stated in the above example, that any account that has been inactive for at least a year that has not been accessed by July 15 will be released ‘back into the wild’, starting in August. Wow.

Cheerfully announced via the company’s Tumblr page by Jay Rossiter, Senior Vice President of Platforms at Yahoo!, yourname@yahoo.com can be yours (although likely to be at the expense of some other poor soul). Interested?

Marketers and consumers are both worried about this – you only have to look at the sentiment on the Yahoo! Tumblr page where it was announced.

One user described Yahoo! as “more dangerous to the security of the internet than any government at this point”. A little extreme maybe, but it represents how people feel about this bizzare move from the tech giant. 

There is certainly some concern with this from a privacy perspective as emails could come to these re-purposed, re-assigned addresses that were intended for the previous owner, not only risking the wrath of a spam complaint (beware, marketers), but potentially sending sensitive information to an unintended recipient.

Clearly it is bad practice for marketers to send to any individual that has been unresponsive for such a long time, but we all know that it happens at times. 

Surely if this is an attempt to reactivate ‘lapsed’ email account holders, it would be best for everyone if they just write-off those addresses instead of re-releasing them back into the public?

What do you think about Yahoo’s move? Let us know in the comments below.