Privacy Invasion? Phone Number Now Mandatory To Open New Gmail and Yahoo Mail Accounts
Both Gmail and Yahoo Mail have silently made phone numbers as a mandatory requirement to create new email accounts on their platform. While Google asks for either a telephone number or mobile number, Yahoo specifically asks for mobile number to able to verify the email accounts. Earlier both of these email providers had phone number as optional field.
When a Google official was contacted by leading news daily to verify this requirement, he said that it’s optional to provide phone numbers. As per the official instructions on the Gmail support section: “Note for Google Apps users: In an effort to protect our users and combat abuse of our systems, we sometimes ask admins to verify their identity via SMS or a phone call before they’re able to complete some actions in the Control Panel”
However, if any new user tries to create a new gmail account without providing any phone number, his account would not be fully active. Although there has been no official announcement regarding this mandatory rule of providing phone number, it is clear to the end user that this requirement is a enforced way to extract their private information.
Atleast Yahoo has been clearly forthright in this matter, as a spokesperson for Yahoo recently said, “At Yahoo, we are committed to the security of our users. We ask our users to provide their mobile number at registration as a secondary means of authentication, in addition to their password. We would only use the number if we see any unusual activity on the account.
On one hand such a step is certainly a positive one to tackle the menace of spamming and illegal activities, but on the other hand it can lead to some serious charges of invasion in privacy.
Now, no longer a person can remain anonymous even in case he wishes to use email service provided by Google and Yahoo. In fact, there is no government notification or order regarding this requirement of giving out phone numbers to create email id.
Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) has opposed this move and said that the email service providers have no right to demand phone numbers of end-users in-order to use their email platform.
ISPAI President Rajesh Chharia said recently, “This is an attack on user’s privacy. This should not happen. If they (Gmail and Yahoo) are doing such a thing, then this must be recognized by Indian government on how they are collecting phone numbers,”
As of end of 2012, there were total 425 million users of Gmail all over the world, out of which its maximum reach was within India as 62% of Indians who use email has opted for Gmail. Comparatively, Yahoo Mail has 281 million users all over the world, out of which around 10 million are from India.
With this enforced rule and arm-twisting methodology to extract emails from internet-savvy Indians, both of these email providers have chosen a very dangerous path, which can lead to large scale dissatisfaction and uproar.
What do you think of this decision to make phone numbers mandatory to use email? Will it help to stop spam or it’s a clear invasion of your privacy? Do share your views by commenting right here!