On Friday, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and anti-surveillance groups demanded the United States government to disclose an order emitted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) requiring Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) to launch an email surveillance program.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Yahoo allegedly complied with US intelligence agents asking to scan user emails. In 2015, Yahoo built software allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to spy all emails.
Once the most popular website in the US, Yahoo slowly started to decline since the late 2000s. Overall mismanagement, failed or rejected acquisitions like those of Google and Facebook, and a recent series of privacy and security issues have taken their toll on Yahoo.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has failed to propel Yahoo back to the top
To make matters even worse, former Yahoo media executive Scott Ard filed a lawsuit against the tech company alleging anti-male discrimination. In the suit, Ard claims Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer led a secret campaign to get rid of all male employees. He got fired in January 2015.
Despite initial expectation following her appointment in 2012, Marissa Mayer’s choices made her the latest in a string of bad Yahoo CEOs. Just like Terry Semel, Carol Bartz, and Scott Thompson before her, she wasn’t up to the task.
Mayer began her tenure by buying Tumblr in 2013. Overvaluation of the deal combined with slow user and revenue growth fueled Yahoo’s demise. Marissa Mayer’s decision to comply with email surveillance by intelligence officials is just the latest nail in Yahoo’s coffin.
In consequence, Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos and other senior executives departed Yahoo in June 2015. With Senator Ron Wyden demanding the US government to declassify the FISC order due to privacy and security violations, Yahoo’s nightmare is far from over.
Once valued at $100 billion, Yahoo sold itself to Verizon for $4.83 billion
Last month, Yahoo also revealed a massive security breach that happened in 2014. At least 500 million Yahoo accounts got hacked. Following the news, Verizon Communications (NASDAQ: VZ) supposedly wanted a $1 billion discount on its acquisition of Yahoo.
After learning Yahoo has scanned user emails since last year, Verizon will certainly push harder to cut the deal’s price. In July, Verizon announced that it was going to buy Yahoo for $4.83 billion. Yahoo was once worth more than $100 billion.
Verizon aims to merge Yahoo with AOL to form a single organization that can compete with digital media giants like Facebook and Google. The Yahoo deal should close in the first quarter of 2017. Verizon acquired AOL for $4.4 billion in 2015.