Yahoo's FISA battle is leading the charge for open democracy

Of all the moves Yahoo has made under Marissa Mayer to revive its brand — buying Tumblr, buying Summly (and any other start-up that appears to be missing a vowel) — the company’s aggressive stance on the National Security Agency spying scandal is the most brilliant and most laudable.

Here’s the Mercury News’ Brandon Bailey on the latest.

From a moral/ethical standpoint asking a U.S. court to let the public know just what it is doing in the name of justice is the right thing to do. And, as I’ve written before, from a business point of view, showing customers that you will fight to protect their privacy simply can’t be beat.

Every single company that has cooperated with the government by handing over customers’ information should follow Yahoo’s lead and scream bloody murder about the cloak of silence and secrecy that has been thrown over their operations when it comes to customer privacy.

The terrible attacks of Sept. 11 might have lulled all of us into a complacency about looking the other way when the government tramples our rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Knowingly or not, Yahoo’s moves might have given us all a chance to step back and think about how unAmerican a top-secret court is.

There is no need to keep secret years later, investigators’ work to root out terrorists. None.

As Jenifer Sista Granick, Stanford law school’s Center for Internet and Society, told Bailey: ”Revealing what went on in the court is critical to having a democracy.”

Let’s hope Yahoo’s crusade and the public interest it will spark helps persuade our judiciary that that is indeed so.

Mike Cassidy Mike Cassidy (173 Posts)

I write about the culture of Silicon Valley for the San Jose Mercury News.