Finally, Yahoo’s possible betrayal of its users is another example of why whistleblowers and leaks to the press are so important. The US government considers this type of surveillance “legal” even though it shocks the conscience of many ordinary Americans and dozens of civil liberties groups have been attempting to have courts rule it illegal for years.
Response to Snowden revelations aims to make encryption the default for all traffic through Yahoo
Yahoo has announced major steps to encrypt its users’ data in the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of government surveillance of private citizens.
Alex Stamos, Yahoo’s recently appointed chief information security officer, said on Wednesday his ultimate aim was to make sure “all traffic through Yahoo will be encrypted by default”.
The company set out details of its moves in a blog post. They include:
- Traffic moving between Yahoo data centres is now fully encrypted.
- Yahoo has enabled encryption of mail between its servers and other mail providers.
- The Yahoo homepage and all search queries that run on it have https encryption enabled by default.
- Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, and Good Morning America on Yahoo can be encrypted by typing “https” before the site URL in their web browser.
- A new, encrypted, version of Yahoo Messenger will be deployed within months to stop mass government spying on webcam chats.
Stamos, a well-known security researcher, was an outspoken critic of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance programme before he joined Yahoo.
He said the moves would make it much more difficult for governments, or other parties, to collect information wholesale from the public.