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Yahoo follows Google with encryption for its email service

Privacy activists will be happy bunnies, because Yahoo has said that it is going to encrypt its email traffic, and keep it safe from the prying eyes of government surveillance.

The move follows Google's recent announcement that it would be offering such a scheme, as the big communications facilitators of the tech world try to appeal to those who are angry about the NSA's tentacles (and others) extending into their electronic missives.

Like Google, Yahoo proposes to make the encryption – which will be of the PGP or Pretty Good Privacy variety – an optional feature that users will have to opt into. In other words, it won't be on for every user by default.

Alex Stamos, Yahoo's CISO, told the Wall Street Journal that PGP isn't a "panacea" for all privacy issues, and that it only protects the actual content of a message, and not the destination email or subject, for example.

At the Black Hat security conference, Stamos said: "We have to make it to clear to people it is not secret you're emailing your priest. But the content of what you're emailing him is secret."

The system won't be put into action just yet, though. Rather, an autumn rollout is planned.

Read more: The Snowden effect: How one whistleblower has made encryption cool

Yahoo first pledged that it would be encrypting all of its services back in November 2013 following Snowden's leaks, and already announced back in April that it would be encrypting the traffic between its data centres, and its Messenger service.