Google, Yahoo Find New Ways To Curb E-Mail Spam

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 11, 2014

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The two major email providers of the world – Google (Gmail) and Yahoo (Yahoo mail) have made telephone numbers mandatory for creation of new email addresses in a bid to check spam, according to reports. At present, any person looking to create a new email ID needs to provide a telephone number which Gmail and Yahoo would use for verification.

A Google India spokesperson told PTI, giving phone number was optional but repeated attempts to create a new email address on Gmail by skipping the mobile number requirement failed. The Gmail website said that move to seek phone number is to check spam email senders.

“In an effort to protect our users from abuse, we sometimes ask users to prove they’re not a robot before they’re able to create or sign in to accounts. Having this additional confirmation via phone is an effective way to keep spammers from abusing our systems,” according to a post on the Google website. The internet giant has reportedly limited number of accounts that a person using one telephone number can create but the website did not specify the maximum number of email accounts it will allow.

As for Gmail a person can give either telephone or mobile number, for a new Yahoo email account it is now mandatory to have a mobile number, a report says.

“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,” a Yahoo spokesperson told the agency.

Last week, Google and Yahoo reportedly forces to create a tool that will encrypt messages sent and received between users. According to The Wall Street Journal, the two tech giants will create a tool based on PGP encryption that will encrypt data contained in messages, but not the sender/receiver’s emails or the subject line.

PGP encryption is a way of encrypting data, and it hasn’t been cracked yet. It relies on users having their own encryption key stored on laptops, tablets and smartphones instead of traditional webmail services, where tech companies hold passwords and usernames.

According to Internet Service Providers Association of India (IISPAI), there is no regulatory requirement for making telephone number mandatory for having an email address and condemned the move as such practice could expose privacy of an individual.

“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 recognised by Indian government on how they are collecting phone numbers,” ISPAI president Rajesh Chharia said in a statement.

Internet companies have been advocating at global level that there should be no kind of restriction on use of internet and if there are any regulations on internet, then the cost associated with compliance of those regulations should be such that it should not check proliferation of internet usage.

Though the telecom subscriber base in India is over 90 crore, a recent survey conducted by research firm Juxt in 2013 showed there were only about 55.48 crore people in the country who actually owned a mobile device.