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Sunday Times accuses Yahoo!

Posted by malcolm on Monday, May 21st, 2007 at 15:24

The Sunday Times has accused Yahoo! of hindering police investigations into child abuse - by implementing its own policies intended to aid child protection. Yahoo! insists that its customers identify themselves, and its Terms of Service demand that customer-supplied identification be “true, accurate, current and complete”.

When Yahoo! decides that a customer has lied on an account application form, for example by falsely claiming to be a child, it closes the account. Unfortunately, police officers often pose as children during investigations into child abuse; the Times claims Yahoo has been closing these accounts too. The police do not inform Yahoo! when they conduct such an investigation, so Yahoo! may not realise that the suspicious account is actually operated by a police officer pretending to be a paedophile instead of an actual paedophile; this only gets on a passing reference in the Times’ story.

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