Campaign to ‘Dump Yahoo’ launched by Yelp-backed group

A digital rights group backed by one of Yahoo’s competitors and one of its partners has launched a “Dump Yahoo” campaign urging people to delete their Yahoo accounts.

“Yahoo compromised the security and privacy of hundreds of millions of users and all the people they communicate with by installing a secret software program that searched all incoming emails at the request of U.S. intelligence officials,” Fight for the Future’s exhortation to Yahoo users says.

On top of bashing the troubled Sunnyvale firm over the recent reports that Yahoo rolled over for the FBI and scanned its users’ emails in real time, the campaign takes aim at Yahoo’s record-setting breach of personal information from more than a half a billion user accounts. Fight for the Future claimed the hack occurred “almost certainly” because Yahoo failed to invest sufficiently in standard security practices.

“Yahoo is a sinking ship,” the campaign materials said.

Yahoo declined to comment. The company is in the process of a $4.83 billion sale to Verizon.

The Dump Yahoo website offers a link to Yahoo’s account-closure page, and includes a pledge people can sign declaring they’ve turfed Yahoo to send a message to the company, the government and other internet firms that compromising users’ security carries consequences.

Fight for the Future says it receives support from the Ford Foundation and Knight Foundation. It also lists, as a $25,000-or-more funder, Yahoo rival DuckDuckGo, whose namesake search engine is marketed as one that “doesn’t track you.”

Listed as a funder of $10,000 or more is Yelp, with whom Yahoo entered a partnership in 2014 to include the review site’s listings and reviews into Yahoo search results.

Yelp and DuckDuckGo did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The Dump Yahoo campaign had faced at least one hitch: the automatic-forwarding function many users would want to apply if closing a Yahoo email account had been disabled by Yahoo. Although the timing of the disablement was certainly suspicious, coming in the wake of the world’s worst data breach and the unprecedented Spies-R-Us scandal, Yahoo said it resulted from “previously planned maintenance.”

On Oct. 14, Yahoo said in a blog post that it had enabled auto-forwarding, and that it had been disabled because of an upgrade to the Yahoo Mail platform.

 

Photo: A person walks in front of a Yahoo sign at the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

 

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