Yahoo CEO Mayer: We Faced Jail if We Revealed NSA Surveillance Secrets
“Yahoo has been unable to engage fully in the debate about whether the government has properly used its powers, because the government has placed a prior restraint on Yahoo’s speech.”
I deeply object to the position Yahoo and other providers have been put in. How might we feel if our host got one of those letters? Sound ridiculous? Perhaps. But it personalizes the issue for just a moment, as a thought experiment. This stuff matters.
Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook struck back on Wednesday at critics who have charged tech companies with doing too little to fight off NSA surveillance. Mayer said executives faced jail if they revealed government secrets.
Yahoo and Facebook, along with other tech firms, are pushing for the right to be allowed to publish the number of requests they receive from the spy agency. Companies are forbidden by law to disclose how much data they provide.
During an interview at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Mayer was asked why tech companies had not simply decided to tell the public more about what the US surveillance industry was up to. “Releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated,” she said.
Mayer said she was “proud to be part of an organisation that from the beginning, in 2007, has been sceptical of - and has been scrutinizing - those requests [from the NSA].”