By now, you probably already know that Yahoo scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence”, and if you haven’t you can read all the details in the previous link, or in many other places. Here, I only want to point out one thing, mainly but not only to software geeks, and to any organizations whose goal include promoting privacy:
UPDATE 2013/09/17: THIS PROJECT NOW HAS A HOME AT per-cloud.com
I have been using my own email service and self-hosted blogs since 2006⁄2007. I started explaining why everybody should do the same three years ago, when I proposed Virtual Personal Email Servers to overcome the big limits of today’s email. In 2011 I repeated why it is important to find alternatives to Gmail.
Since real support for privacy, control and data ownership should be present in everything we do online, last January I also pointed out that alternatives to corporate social networks already exist and only need proper packaging.
Now the Snowden/NSA/PRISM affair has finally made evident, to an audience immensely larger than geek circles, that I (with many others of course) was right. Everybody, including non-geeks (no: starting from them) should have, as soon as possible, at least the possibility to:
- Using third party services like Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, Flickr, etc… to communicate and work online is very convenient but also has huge drawbacks: even ignoring the privacy issues exposed by the Snowden affair, you become completely dependent on a private (foreign) company that may cancel your account in any moment, because they basically feel like it, or even disappear in a few years (Facebook or Google too big to fail? That’s the same thing people said of Geocities or MySpace just a few years ago).