clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Re/wind: Washington's War on Encryption, Yahoo's Uncertain Future and More

Hillary Clinton, President Obama and others turn up the heat on tech.

Kimberly White / Getty

The fate of Marissa Mayer-led Yahoo is now in the hands of tax attorneys, and the Washington establishment is renewing calls for encryption backdoors in the wake of the San Bernardino mass shooting and last month’s attacks in Paris. Here are the headlines that powered Re/code this week:

  1. Hillary Clinton, Republican senator and forgotten presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, sitting President Barack Obama and a number of high-profile politicians urged Silicon Valley to do more to help fight ISIS. The most controversial of the demands is one that called for the creation of backdoors into current encryption software such as those on your iPhone and Android devices. Silicon Valley won’t likely cave in (even if they’re not talking about it). Re/code Editor-at-Large Walt Mossberg says building such backdoors is a bad idea, particularly because “there is no such thing as a backdoor that only the U.S. government can access.”
  2. Yahoo’s board has decided it won’t go through with the Alibaba spinoff because it has yet to be blessed by the IRS and could incur a huge tax bill. The decision effectively puts the rest of the business in play, possibly to be snapped up by a strategic buyer like Verizon. If Yahoo doesn’t sell Yahoo, expect major restructuring and even more executive departures — like this past week’s exit of ad product chief Prashant Fuloria.
  3. Economists say that Silicon Valley startups are very good at increasing productivity and enhancing wealth, but they don’t really create a lot of new jobs.
  4. Amazon is bulking up its Amazon Prime video offerings, by bundling Showtime, Starz and other programmers with its premium subscription service. More evidence that cord-cutting is the future: Video streaming now accounts for about 70 percent of broadband Internet usage, and more and more TV award nominations are coming from exclusively streamed shows.
  5. Atlassian, a profitable and bootstrapped Australian business software startup, went public this week at a $4 billion-plus valuation after a 30 percent share price spike. Silicon Valley, in existential despair over whether it’s in a bubble, was really rooting for Atlassian’s IPO to go well.
  6. Facebook and a number of other big tech companies (including Google, IBM and Baidu) are in a war for artificial intelligence experts and technology, each looking to claim victory. This week, Facebook announced it has built servers that are twice as powerful as its old ones, in part due to the AI technology they employ.
  7. The Mark Zuckerberg-backed pro-immigration political advocacy group,, released a video about the effects of mass deportation. Meanwhile, Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S.
  8. On Monday, AT&T said it was rolling out its gigabit broadband service to a bunch of places where Google Fiber isn’t. The next day, Google said it was expanding Fiber operations to Chicago, Los Angeles and 15 other cities.
  9. Uber has poached another former Google Maps executive: This time it’s Daniel Graf, who was also Twitter’s product chief before leaving the company earlier this year.
  10. Dropbox is shutting down two of its apps, the email service Mailbox and the photo storage app Carousel, amid a larger reorganization of the company’s priorities.

This article originally appeared on