CNET News Video: Do you trust Yahoo to recycle your username and protect your data?
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CNET News Video: Do you trust Yahoo to recycle your username and protect your data?

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On July 15, Yahoo will start taking the usernames of inactive accounts -- accounts that haven't been used in a year -- and letting others claim them. It's a way for Yahoo to make available some desirable usernames and entice people to return to the site. But with e-mail addresses tied to other accounts and password retrieval, there could be security problems. CNET's Kara Tsuboi explains how Yahoo is planning to protect users' information.

-Yahoo has a message for the thousands of users who haven't used their Yahoo e-mail or IDs in the past 12 months. Use it or lose it. -You could imagine how many usernames have been created over the last, you know, decade or two. And so, there is a significant number of accounts that have just become inactive. And the best thing to do for users is just make these available again. -On July 15th at midnight, Pacific Time, Yahoo will cancel accounts of these inactive users and invite people to try to claim these newly available usernames. -So, let's say my current e-mail address is kara123456@yahoo.com. But I've always wanted just kara@yahoo. I can go to Yahoo, request Kara or karat@yahoo, and then hope that my request is one of those recycled names. -Yahoo says they'll inform people in mid-August if they're awarded the username they requested. But recycling usernames is bringing up privacy and security concerns, with so many online logins and passwords linked to our e-mails. Yahoo says that it's working to ensure users' information will be protected if they lose their Yahoo ID and others claim it. -We'll go through and do some cleanup work to ensure that, you know, data doesn't end up in the wrong places, and unsubscribe that particular ID from any newsletters. We're working with a handful of our partners and peers in the space collaboratively on a program that will basically help them understand if account has been recycled and potentially has a new owner so that they can do the right thing for the user on that property. So for example, if you're, you know, if this is a user on Amazon who's trying to recover their password, we'll help them understand if the account has been recycled, the password information won't get sent to the new user of that account. -While Yahoo says they're confident in their cleanup process, experts say you should take security measures into your own hands. -I think it's a very good idea to go through accounts that you may have associated that Yahoo e-mail with and dissociate them yourselves. Use Yahoo's plan to do cleanup for you as a last line of defense, not as your first line of defense. -If you want to keep your Yahoo ID and e-mail, just make sure to sign in to Yahoo or log in to your Yahoo e-mail by July 14th, 11:59 PM, Pacific Time. In San Francisco, I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com for CBS News.
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