Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Feared Treason for Failing to Comply with NSA Requests
September 13, 2013 10:54 AM
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She said Yahoo protects its users by working "within the system"
chief executive officer said she was apprehensive about not giving in to the government's
requests for data
because of possible imprisonment for treason.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer told an audience at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco that she feared treason charges and imprisonment if she refused to give the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) what it wanted.
"If you don't comply, it is treason," said Mayer. "We can't talk about it because it is classified. Releasing classified information is treason, and you are incarcerated. In terms of protecting our users, it makes more sense to work within the system."
Mayer explained that Yahoo typically battles US government data requests from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, but if Yahoo loses that fight, the company doesn't have much of a choice.
Many tech companies like Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft are trying to receive permission to disclose what kinds of information the government requested in the past in order to increase transparency for users.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
[Image Source: NPR]
This all stemmed from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's spy programs, and how it tapped into the phone calls and emails of Americans. The government said this data was used to fight terrorist attacks, but the public feared for their privacy after the discovery.
Last month, reports said that the NSA admitted to
touching 1.6 percent of total globe Web traffic
. Its technique was to filter data after harvesting it, which led to over-collection on a major scale.
Days later, an internal audit showed that the NSA broke the law
nearly 3,000 times
from 2011 to 2012. More specifically, the May 2012 audit revealed that the NSA had
abused its power
to either accidentally or intentionally
spy on Americans
and green card holders 2,997 times in that time period.
More recent reports show that the NSA bypasses several types of
, and even used back-door access to tech giants like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft for three years to gain the information it wanted. Furthermore, Snowden said that the NSA spends about $250 million USD to diminish international encryption standards (as well as products) so that it can decode what it wants.
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Just say no
9/14/2013 8:53:30 AM
'"If you don't comply, it is treason," said Mayer. "We can't talk about it because it is classified. Releasing classified information is treason, and you are incarcerated. In terms of protecting our users, it makes more sense to work within the system.'
Anyone with a high school understanding of the Constitution knows that the real treason is what the spy agencies are doing. I've often wondered why the rich and powerful always go with the flow even though they have the intelligence and information to know they are harming society. I guess they just have more to lose. An opposite example is the suicide bomber who has very little to lose other than a miserable life. I'm guessing Snowden didn't enjoy his job and therefore was more willing to protect society (or seek glory).
I think Mayer is cynically exploiting these events for free PR to further her future business and political career. I would have been willing to contribute to her future campaign if she had just said no.
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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