Yahoo secretly built software for US spies that monitored every user’s emails for certain keywords, according to a bombshell report from Reuters published Tuesday.
The news has provoked a deluge of criticism for the ailing tech company, with the ACLU even labelling it “unconstitutional.”
Other tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Apple, have been quick to say they have never received similar requests — and if they did, they would challenge it in court.
Meanwhile, Yahoo is keeping quiet, saying only that: “Yahoo is a law-abiding company and complies with the laws of the United States.”
This is just the latest in a stream of bad security news for Yahoo users. The company recently announced that data on 500 million users was stolen, apparently by state-sponsored hackers, and there has been a series of reports alleging that the company has consistently refused to prioritise security.
“In the [CEO Marissa] Mayer world, it became highly secretive,” to the point where the head of security wasn’t always “even part of the discussion,” a former company executive told my colleague Paul Szoldra.
It’s not clear what Yahoo’s userbase will think of the news, or if it will affect the company’s $4.8 billion (£3.7 billion) sale to Verizon.
But if you’re a user, and this is the last straw, it’s dead simple to delete your account.
First of all, backup your data! You don’t want to lose old emails and photos in the process. Luckily, Yahoo has put together an easy-to-follow walkthrough on how to do that here. (Important note: This includes all your Flickr photos!)
Done that? Great. Now head over to the “Delete Your Account” page. It should look like this.
It will ask you to enter your password, and to do a captcha, to prove who you are — and just like that, you’re done!
Once you do that, it will take around 90 days to process. This is to stop people maliciously or fraudulently deleting other people’s accounts if they gain access — and means if you get cold feet straight after, it’s not too late.
But after three months, it’s bye bye Yahoo!