Yahoo commits to encrypting website traffic to protect users from snooping

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San Francisco: head of Yahoo Marissa Mayer said on Monday that the internet company would start encrypting data to protect users from online snooping.

By April of next year, Yahoo will have encryption in place to protect information shared by users of its online properties as well as information exchanged between the internet company’s data centers, Mayer said in a statement. blog post.

Google has already started jamming most of the traffic to its websites as tech companies grapple with actions by U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on what people do and share online.

“As you know, there have been a number of reports over the past six months of the US government secretly accessing user data without the knowledge of technology companies, including Yahoo,” Mayer said.

“We will continue to assess how we can protect the privacy of our users and their data.”

Mayer said a more sophisticated encryption system will be in place on Yahoo’s free webmail service by January 8 to protect user privacy.

Meanwhile, a recently filed lawsuit in California accuses Yahoo of violating privacy by scanning Yahoo Mail messages for information to better target advertising.

The lawsuit seeks class action status and asks that Yahoo be ordered to pay $ 5,000 per user, or to triple that amount as permitted by civil law. Yahoo mail would have around 275 million users, according to legal records.

“Because Yahoo’s revenue model is so fundamentally dependent on advertising, and because it can increase revenue by creating more accurate records, there is a strong incentive to collect so much personal information about users, no matter what. either their sensitivity – or illegal, “the lawsuit said.

Yahoo scans incoming emails regardless of which service the senders use, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a California man on Nov. 15 in federal court in the city of San Jose, Silicon Valley.

Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and other Internet titans have vehemently denied ever letting U.S. spy agencies tap directly into their data, saying they only provided information backed up by requests approved by courts.

Top-secret US National Security Agency reluctantly makes headlines amid wave of disclosures from former intelligence contractor Edward snowden, who denounced the service’s vast electronic espionage operation.

The agency uses supercomputers, linguists and decrypting mathematicians to oversee what experts say is the world’s most powerful digital spy organization.

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