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Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), National Security Agency Agree to Disagree Over Online Privacy

A CNBC article this morning talked about a conference that was held yesterday which involved a discussion between Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)‘s Chief Information-Security Officer, Alex Stamos and National Security Agency (NSA) Director, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, regarding the controversial “backdoors” the government wants to use to access users’ information if necessary. During the discussion there was a sharp exchange of words that make it evident that there is a growing dispute between Obama’s administration and Silicon Valley, which began with the leaks of Edward Snowden in 2013.

Yahoo, YHOO, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)

When Stamos talked about giving the government a “master key” to access Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s products and be able to decrypt them, Rogers replied:

“…it needs to be done within a framework. I’m the first to acknowledge that. You don’t want the FBI and you don’t want the NSA unilaterally deciding, so, what are we going to access and what are we not going to access? That shouldn’t be for us. I just believe that this is achievable. We’ll have to work our way through it,” Rogers stated.

The conference continued with vague answers from the National Security Agency’s Director, such as when Alex Stamos stated that any effort they make to build backdoors into Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s encryption systems would be the same as “drilling a hole in the windshield”.  Rogers responded “I’ve got a lot of world-class cryptographers at the National Security Agency.”

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and the NSA have seemingly agreed to disagree during this discussion without reaching any conclusions on what’s going to happen with the encryption issue or how they are going to manage to work together or against each other to resolve this problem.

“This simplistic characterization of one-side-is-good and one-side-is-bad is a terrible place for us to be as a nation. We have got to come to grips with some really hard, fundamental questions. I’m watching risk and threat do this, while trust has done that. No matter what your view on the issue is, or issues, my only counter would be that that’s a terrible place for us to be as a country. We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to change that,” Rogers said.

There is a lot of criticism around the National Security Agency’s spying and surveillance after Ed Snowden’s leaks as well as their motive behind it wanting to have backdoors to decrypt data and access information without warrants. The stand of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) in this issue is that there is no way to build a backdoor to decrypt the data after talking to the best public cryptographers: Bruce Scheneier and Ed Felton.

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