In an encouraging sign of greater concern for privacy rights following the revelations by Edward Snowden, Yahoo announces that it is increasing its encryption measuresto protect users’ data.
The moves are being spearheaded by Alex Stamos, a well-known security researcher who has been an outspoken critic of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs and was just appointed as Yahoo’s chief information security officer.
“The goal is all traffic to and from Yahoo users is going to be encrypted all the time by default, and invisibly. This is not going to be something you have to think about all the time,” he said. “Preventing surveillance of millions of people at a time is totally within our abilities,” Stamos said.
Yahoo was working with thousands of partners to make sure encryption was as widespread as possible, and pushing media partners and advertisers to encrypt by default.
This is the way that the spying by the NSA and GCHQ can be at least partially thwarted, by the technical people at the big companies putting in place such measures because of pressure from their customers. Once the companies do this, mass surveillance will become too difficult and the NSA will be forced to use its resources so as to target only those people who they deem to be a serious risk and get warrants to do so.