Yahoo! is going to start encrypting its intra-data-center traffic and will offer a similar service as an option to webmail users next year, CEO Marissa Meyer has pledged.
"I want to reiterate what we have said in the past: Yahoo has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency. Ever," she said on her Tumblr page – which is now the preferred method of corporate communications following Yahoo!'s $1bn acquisition of the site.
"There is nothing more important to us than protecting our users’ privacy. To that end, we recently announced that we will make Yahoo Mail even more secure by introducing https (SSL - Secure Sockets Layer) encryption with a 2048-bit key across our network by January 8, 2014."
Last month documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claimed that the NSA and Britain's GCHQ have been tapping into the fiber used by Google and Yahoo! to connect their data-center traffic. The scheme, dubbed MUSCULAR, operated outside the US, to stay within the remit of the national laws.
The leaked documents sent two Google engineers into an apoplexy, and the search giant has already started adding encryption to its interlinks and now Yahoo! will follow suit, albeit at a more leisurely pace. Microsoft has said it is "reviewing" such a move, but doesn’t encrypt as yet.
The Yahoo! data center streams, which carry huge amounts of user and corporate information, will be encrypted by the first quarter of next year, and Yahoo! Mail users will have the option to encrypt, although it doesn’t look at this stage as though this will be the default setting.
Furthermore, Yahoo! is going to work with co-branded partners to set up HTTPS communications links overseas. Eventually Yahoo wants to encrypt all of its services, but hasn’t given a precise timescale.
"As we have said before, we will continue to evaluate how we can protect our users’ privacy and their data. We appreciate, and certainly do not take for granted, the trust our users place in us," Mayer concluded. ®