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Elaine Ou

Mass Surveillance Is Part of Yahoo's Business Model

Spying for the government isn't all that different from what internet companies do for advertisers.
Who's watching whom?
Photographer: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Yahoo has been getting a lot of attention lately for its failures to protect personal information. What's perhaps more remarkable, though, is how little privacy American internet users demand.

First came news that hackers stole personal data on more than 500 million Yahoo users. Now the company is dealing with reports that it helped the Justice Department conduct mass surveillance by scanning e-mail traffic for signs of a terrorist organization. One has to wonder: When Verizon finally completes its planned acquisition of Yahoo, will there be any users left to acquire?