Problems withYahoo!

Bob Rogers brogers at
Mon Sep 9 09:48:39 MDT 2002


* Editor's Note: If you are sufficiently pissed off by Yahoo's outrages 
(this email looks only at two stories, there are many more), you can find 
contact info in item #2. Give 'em hell!

-- Sunil


1) -------- Original Message --------
Subject: [G-C-F] why activists should avoid yahoo (and other free email)
Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 20:03:48 -0700
From: Susan King
To: cal forum <grns-cal-forum>

All, if you use Yahoo (or maybe other free email services), please read this
below and consider moving to a different service if you can at all afford
it. Losing access to my email and records is one of my worst nightmares, and
anyone who is active in progressive politics that may fall under the yahoo
guidelines below is at risk for the same treatment that these folks got
(they lost access without warning and all records, lists, un read emails
were lost).


Yahoo! censors LMNOP, an Oakland peace group

My wife & I have been active in Lake Merritt
Neighbors Organized for Peace, an Oakland antiwar
group, since it started during the Gulf War in 1991.
(For a history of LMNOP & more information about the
group see <>).

Three years ago we got an email address for the
group, lmno4p at  This seemed like a good way
to stay in touch with other groups & people.  We also
used it to notify people of upcoming events, & other

On August 8th, 2002, however, we found that we were
no longer able to access our email address at
lmno4p at  Email sent to the address was
returned as "Undeliverable because the account has
been discontinued or disabled."  We had been
"deactivated," the Yahoo! computer told us, "because
of a violation of the terms of service agreement."

I downloaded the Yahoo! terms of service agreement &
read it again:  There was absolutely nothing I could
find that we had done that would constitute a
violation of the agreement.

Emailed & snail-mailed inquiries to Yahoo! were
simply ignored.  Yahoo!'s attitude appeared to be in
keeping with their terms of service agreement:  They
will provide you with an email address, but they will
also block you from using it & delete everything you
might have stored in it whenever they feel like it,
for any reason or no reason at all, & there is nothing
you can do about it.  Ignoring our inquiries simply
underscored these arrogant policies.

My wife, Beth, telephoned Yahoo! at (408)349-3300
earlier this week, & again yesterday.  Her
conversations with four different people there were
most revealing, even if we are still barred from
getting into our account.

Earlier in the week Beth spoke with Laurie.  Laurie
is a supervisor in the Yahoo! Customer Care unit.
Laurie told Beth that Yahoo! did not have to tell her
what the alleged terms of service violation was, nor
would they.  She also said that the decision to shut
down an account is made by a human, not the computer,
so someone had pulled the plug - but there was nothing
we could do about it.  Laurie also said that it is
"their policy" not to give their last names.

Yesterday Beth talked with three different people at
Yahoo!  The 1st was a woman in Customer Care who
transferred her call to Public Relations.  The guy in
Public Relations (Brian) said that his department only
deals with the media, so basically there was really no
reason to talk with him at all.  Brian wasn't sure why
the Customer Care person had transferred her to him, &
he transferred Beth to Pablo, a supervisor in Customer

Pablo assured Beth that lmno4p at had not
been shut-down for political reasons, but he also said that
it is "their policy" not to say what the actual reason
was - &, most important, he said that a decision to
shut down an account is not made "unless a complaint
has been made."  This confirms our suspicion that the
LMNOP account WAS shut down for political reasons -
There was no violation of the "terms of agreement" by
us, & Yahoo! refuses to say what the alleged violation
was, because there was none.

We don't think that Yahoo! pulled our plug because
they think we're some sort of threat to civilization
as we know it.  We think Yahoo! overreacted to a
complaint by someone who disagrees with our politics,
especially our public support for peace & justice in
Palestine.  Yahoo! figured that we are simply an
obscure local group in Oakland, so they could treat us
anyway they wanted to.  Now that we are demanding
answers & questioning their draconian "terms of
service agreement" Yahoo! is stubbornly sticking to
"their policies" - i.e., once they've shut you down
there is no recourse, & they will not reinstate your
account, nor even let you rescue any information that
was stored there.

Our email list was stored in the lmno4p at
account, & we had messages that we had not yet
answered before Yahoo! pulled our plug.  We have
learned the hard way to never store anything in a
Yahoo! account that you are not ready to have some
misguided bureaucrat or political zealot delete.

I know these are troubled times, & the problems of
one small peace group in Oakland are miniscule
compared to what is going on in the rest of the world.
But it bothers me to think that a company like Yahoo!
can sabotage our work in such a heavy-handed way with
no recourse whatsoever.

I tell you all this for three reasons:  1). To warn
you to be careful when you deal with Yahoo!; 2). To
ask if anyone has any ideas how we might bring Yahoo!
to account for their reckless political sabotage; &
3). To see if anyone else has had similar experiences
with Yahoo! or any of the other email service

- Steve Wagner, Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized
for Peace, (510) 763-8712.


2) From: Stephen "Sami" Mashney

(PLEASE ACT and FORWARD to all friendly people and lists)

Dear friends and supporters of free internet for ALL people,

 From July 31, 2002 till present, unknown criminal hackers have spoofed all 
of my 5 email addresses and sent by now more than a million highly 
objectionable messages publishing my name, telephone number and website 

As a result, I received by now thousands of angry email messages and 
telephone calls. I met with the FBI close to a month ago. To date, I was 
not made aware of any progress in the investigation or arrests made and the 
avalanche of bounced messages continues unabated.

Yahoo! has done the unthinkable and is punishing me--the victim--by 
disabling all of my email addresses, making me a persona non grata at 
Yahoo! I have called, corresponded with, and used Yahoo!'s on-line help 
repeatedly to no avail. I sent Yahoo! correspondence from my ISPs proving 
my innocence. Yahoo! does not give a damn and I suspect may be also behind 
at least some of my problems.

I cannot now manage any of my groups which are now ships adrift in the 
internet sea without a captain after being violated by the Yahoo! Pirates.

I urge all of my friends and all people wanting the internet to be free for 
ALL people regardless of color, race, national origin, or political opinion 
to write hard copy letters to Yahoo! at this address:

Terry Semel, CEO
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Please ask Yahoo! To:

1-  Re-enable (un-ban) my 5 email addresses which are: Mashney at; 
ewilderness at; statelesspal at; smashney at; 
Sami at

2-  Demand that Yahoo! create a prompt, effective and user-friendly 
mechanism on its website to help legitimate internet users re-set their 
Yahoo!-caused disabled status—which Yahoo! euphemistically refers to as 
so-called “Auto Responder.”

3-  Conduct an internal investigation to ensure that the sabotage of the 
email accounts of thousands and thousands of users is not intentional and 
politically motivated.

I am selling all of my shares of Yahoo! stock as an expression of protest. 
You may want to do whatever you think is appropriate. I doubt that Yahoo! 
stock will ever recover given its indifferent management.

(Please mail me a copy of your letter to Yahoo!)

This is not about me personally. It is about the integrity and reliability 
of the internet. Yahoo! is making the internet a less friendly and less 
reliable tool used by civilized people.

Thank you for your support,

Stephen “Sami” Mashney
Mashney Law Offices
501 North Brookhurst Street, Suite 306
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 535-5090
(714) 535-5090
Mashney at

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