Yahoo and parent Oath remove Canada-specific clause from terms of use

TORONTO — Yahoo’s parent company has dropped a controversial new term of service that would have required its Canadian users to share data from their friends and contacts, including phone numbers, with the U.S.-based multinational group.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner confirmed Tuesday that the company known as Oath, which owns Yahoo, Tumblr, AOL, Huffington Post and other businesses, had agreed to remove the clause following complaints.

People who used the Yahoo email service provided with their Rogers accounts were among the first to complain about the clause, which was within Oath’s recently revised terms of service.

Terms of service, in general, outline the legal obligations of the provider and the user. In the case of Oath, which operates on a global scale, there were sections specific to different countries and regions.

Rogers Communications Inc. issued a statement Tuesday saying it knows some customers had concerns about Yahoo’s clause related to personal contacts “so we are pleased it was removed.”

“We are working with our customers to address their questions and help them use Yahoo’s opt-out settings to customize their email preferences,” the Toronto-based cable, internet, wireless and media company said in a statement.

The privacy commissioner’s office in Ottawa said Tuesday it has launched an investigation involving Rogers, Yahoo and Oath.

A statement from Oath on Tuesday said that section of the terms of services “made clear to our users” that the consent was required “when they chose to have Yahoo Messenger invite their friends to the app.”

“Upon further review, we’ve removed this section of our terms of service as the functionality does not currently exist in our product offerings.”

Oath’s statement also said that it didn’t use the contact information for advertising purposes.

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