Microsoft is now ramping up its efforts to encrypt their internet traffic in response to the National Security Agency (NSA) spying controversy. Files leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the agency’s operations against Google and Yahoo, which led Google to speed up its own search encryption efforts in September 2013. Slides describing these operations include mentions of Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail services.
This slide mentions the NSA’s list of online address book sources, including Microsoft’s Hotmail.
This slide displays a garbled email collected from Hotmail.
This slide shows an apparent interception of a communication on Windows Live Messenger, as indicated by the string “messenger.live.com”.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and EVP for Legal and Corporate Affairs, said that they are “focused on engineering improvements that will further strengthen security, including strengthening security against snooping by governments.”
When asked about the mention of Microsoft services in the NSA documents specifically, Smith said “These allegations are very disturbing. If they are true these actions amount to hacking and seizure of private data and in our view are a breach of the protection guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
What Does This Mean for You?
Webmasters, SEOs, and online marketers already have limited resources when it comes to keyword research. Many professionals rely on the limited information Google Webmaster Tools provides, as well as Bing and Yahoo search referrals. Yahoo has already announced opt-in encryption for users, but considering that Bing provides the search results for Yahoo, it might be easy for Microsoft to pressure them into encrypting search.
Adapting to encrypted search requires you to be creative and resourceful. Itamar already discussed how we bridge the “Not Provided” gap, and we can do it for your website as well. Our SEO consulting services and SEO packages are exactly what you need to keep your website ranking for relevant keywords.