Yahoo recycling e-mail addresses

Aside from the news that Yahoo is now scanning you e-mail for keywords to be used for advertising, they are also involved in another issue.

Yahoo began to recycle old e-mail addresses that have been shut down for a year or more.

This has opened a new can of worms as some people who are using the recycled addresses are receiving personal messages that were intended for the original account holder. Some of the messages contain sensitive personal information such as data about other accounts, appointments, emailed receipts, and other personal information.

Yahoo claims that before reassigning the recycled addresses, they attempted to contact the account owners in several ways. Additionally they would unsubscribe the dormant accounts from alerts and newsletters. Additionally they notify merchants, ecommerce sites, financial institutions, social networks, email providers, and other others that the account no longer exists before reassigning the name.

Problem could occur if some illegal activity was associated with the old account such as child pornography or maybe the account is getting spam and the spammers’ domain doesn’t seem to care about blocking the messages or punishing the sender.

This is also a huge hole for possible identity theft. While most are smart enough to not give out sensitive information, others are.

For example if someone decided not to change their Facebook account login e-mail address but did ignore their Yahoo account, the new owner could theoretically reset the Facebook account and access the personal information because they have the e-mail address associated with the Facebook account.

If anything a dormant account longer that 2 or maybe 3 years would have been more logical.

Of course why on earth are they bothering? It is not like there is a shortage of e-mail address like IPv4 addresses.