‘Reuters noted that Yahoo “complied with a classified US government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said two former employees and a third person apprised of the events.” It is not clear what data, if any, was handed over,’ – Ars Technica
This is not surprising at all. The Snowden leaks showed an obvious trend: governments, law enforcement agencies, and secret services have a natural attraction towards collecting information of any kind. Of course, they are always trying to stay within the boundaries of laws and regulations but we should never underestimate the force of the information hunger tractor beam.
Partly, they are justified in that they need to do their jobs, the very job we have asked them to do. On the other hand, it is hard in today’s world to separate critical intel from everyday information, so I really can’t blame them for trying to get their hands on everything they can.
Although tech companies have been cooperating eagerly with these agencies before now, they present a rather conservative and “customer friendly” approach basically because they want to monetize trust. The trust that represents the new buy-in factor of technologies in an environment riddled with privacy gaps.
This issue is far too complex for an easy mitigation. I believe it could only be resolved using AI and advanced IT technologies, without human interaction, courts or law-suits. The machines of the future will be able to make decisions autonomously and based on strict criteria. Instead of endlessly debating about jurisdiction or privacy, we need to start building these technologies and resolving our moral dilemmas of privacy, laws and regulations, law enforcement, and anti-terrorist priorities within them.