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Yahoo to encrypt all network data in PRISM backlash

19 Nov 2013
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Yahoo will begin encrypting all information that moves between its data centres from the first quarter of 2014, the firm said. This move comes after claims that US spy agencies have been snooping on data carried over the firm’s networks.

Chief executive Marissa Mayer said Yahoo was determined to ensure users’ privacy in the wake of the PRISM revelations and reiterated the firm’s position that it had never knowingly allowed the government to access any data.

“There have been a number of reports over the last six months about the US government secretly accessing user data without the knowledge of tech companies, including Yahoo,” Mayer wrote in a blog post. “I want to reiterate what we have said in the past: Yahoo has never given access to our data centres to the NSA or to any other government agency. Ever.”

The agencies have denied taking part in such activities, saying to do so would be illegal, but regardless of this Mayer said the firm was taking action to vastly improve the encryption on its infrastructure.

“We recently announced that we will make Yahoo Mail even more secure by introducing https Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption with a 2048-bit key across our network by 8 January 2014. We are [now] announcing that we will extend that effort across all Yahoo products,” she said.

Mayer said not only would this cover all data moving between data centers but it would also offer users the ability to encrypt all data sent to and from Yahoo by the end of Q1 2014. It will also work with Yahoo-branded email partners around the world to ensure https security is offered.

The revelations that US spy agencies have been collecting data from Yahoo, as well as Google, were among many claims that have been made since documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden came to light laying bare the extent of US and UK spying practices.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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