Michael Liedtke:

Yahoo Inc. is hoping to turn on a new sharing option in its popular e-mail service without shocking users who prize their privacy.

That’s why the Internet company is advising its 280 million e-mail accountholders to review their privacy settings along with their incoming messages.

Yahoo posted the privacy reminder this week as it prepares to unveil new features that will share its e-mail users’ online activities and interests with people listed in their address books unless they take steps to prevent the information from being broadcast. The new sharing tools will be appearing in people’s e-mail accounts this month.

This is not the right thing to do. You should allow people to opt in always, not make them have to opt out.