Yahoo! - it’s either an expression of joy or a boorish, stupid personality type, depending where you stand on that affected exclamation mark.
Originally the company was best known for its search, Yahoo being the phrase evocative of the white knuckle ride we called ‘surfing the internet’. Whoa, catch this next wave of information - it’ll carry you all the way to the golden beaches of enlightenment. That’s what Net culture promised in the 90s - it was going to level every playing field, end world poverty and democratise everything.
Yahoo Inc was one of the pioneers of the cyberspace colony, land grabbing everything with its search related services like Yahoo Directory, Mail, News, Finance and Groups. By 2016 it was the world’s fifth most visited website with half a billion consumers. Many of us had a Yahoo account. Sadly, the internet specialist seemed less excited about security.
Recently it emerged that hackers have been surfing through our Yahoo confidential data since 2014. Yeeha! For all that time, state-sponsored privacy surfers have ‘hanged ten’ on 500 million account details (including mine) which, for some reason, Yahoo has been very gung-ho about. It didn’t even bother mentioning the breach for two years. Yowza! If the competition is only a mouse click away, I imagine two years is quite a long time in the internet.
The surf got even spumier. While we were all still trying to think of a new password, news of more boorish behaviour emerged. Reuters reported that Yahoo had secretly programmed searches of all our emails at the behest of US intelligence agencies, in compliance with a US government directive.
Well you can’t say Yahoo isn’t pushing the envelope. No other US internet company has agreed to sniff through all its clients’ inboxes. So they’re going where nobody has gone before. Hooray for the democratising efforts of US global corporations and the CIA. I doubt if anyone can ever Trump that!
It’s Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer we should feel for. She started out in life with the best intentions - training in paediatric neurosurgery, brilliant scholar, a volunteer teacher in her spare time - but she seems to have become a different person in the IT industry and fell in with the spooks. Did they - to use a surfing term - get ‘gnarly’ with poor Meyer? How else did they get her to make whoopee with Yahoo?
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