/ Technology

Yahoo Scanned Emails For U.S. Intelligence - Outrageous

After I read the Reuters' report that Yahoo "had built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence," I was shocked. I actually checked the Yahoo homepage to see if their logo included a sheriff's badge.

What the hell are you doing Yahoo? You rolled over without even a fight? Are you kidding me? You guys and gals have become the laughing stock of the tech industry. Maybe the reason that Verizon was able to buy Yahoo at garage sale prices is that you spent too much time writing software for the NSA rather than working on Yahoo mess of a homepage.

We gotten a numerous media questions since the Yahoo story broke and we want to be absolutely clear: Sympile has never received a request/demand/subpoena/etc to scan all of our users' emails for any government/private agency/anyone. We would never agree to such a request. We would fight any such demand using all legal means and would take the battle for privacy to the United States Supreme Court, Congress, and the President.

In all cases where we do receive a subpoena for an individual's Sympile files, we file a motion to quash the subpoena and for permission to notify the user. In some cases, we have been successful. In other situations, we have not. However, we have never been asked to scan all of our users' files.

At Sympile, we are proud of our cooperation with law enforcement while acting in a manner that is consistent with the protection of the privacy rights of our users. If the United States expects that Sympile will become an arm of the NSA, it will not happen. I will shut the doors, throw away the keys, and run for political office. I value our users' privacy as though it was my own, and I will not let the United States turn into a country where very communication of hard working, honest people become the fodder for lazy law enforcement.

The reality is that it is not the government that we must fear, but it individuals within a government who abuse the power that has granted to them by the citizens of this amazing country. Fear breeds over reactions and we must remain mindful of our past.

It is doubtful there are any individuals who today think locking up Japanese-Americans during World War was a good idea. Yet, it happened. It is also unlikely that there are many supporters of the witch hunt for communists that was led by the House Un-American Activities Committee. And most fortunately, supporters of segregation have rightfully disappeared from the mainstream.

This is "the land of free and the home the brave." Yet, Yahoo's corporate management failed to protect their users' basic privacy rights, and most certainly, and did not act bravely.

Al Weiser  

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