Yahoo! End-to-End email preview promises greater protection for journalists

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Other Writing
Publication Date: 
March 30, 2015

Good news for journalists wanting added protection from surveillance. Yahoo! hasannounced a technical preview of its email security tool End-to-End, which it has been developing in collaboration with Google. This is another milestone in the tech companies' efforts to protect users not just from outsiders, but also from the companies themselves.

Typically, journalists and their sources must rely on service providers to protect the privacy of communications. Providers not only need the technical proficiency to protect users from attackers of unparalleled skill, they must also have the ability to resist the legal and extralegal coercion of the governments in the countries where they do business--even when that coercion forces them to act against their core principles.

In the U.S., this coercion often takes the form of National Security Letters (NSLs) or warrants issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). These orders demand potentially vast quantities of data, but gag the recipients from ever talking about it.

Yahoo! was exposed to this in 2008, when the FISC commanded it to turn over mountains of private user data under the NSA's PRISM program. In 2014, after years of legal battles, Yahoo! revealed it had won the right to publicly discuss the case.

Read the full piece at the Committee to Protect Journalists' website