Report: Yahoo, the Internet giant developed a software to secretly scan millions of its users’ email conversations for the NSA meanwhile Yahoo’s CEO provided full cooperation to the agency.
Yahoo developed a software to secretly scan its users’ email conversation for the US Intelligence agencies.
According to a report from Reuters: “The company complied with a classified U.S. government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said two former employees and a third person apprised of the events.”
“Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to the surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to a spy agency’s demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.”
Yahoo is in the news for all the bad reasons, just a couple weeks ago the company announced it suffered a massive data breach from state-sponsored actors who stole more than 500 million accounts of its users.
In the report, Reuters also revealed that the order to search users’ email search came in the form of a classified directive. It was sent to the company’s legal team in which intelligence officials were looking for a set of characters. It is unclear what exactly they were they looking for. We believe it can be attachments or simply the content of emails.
The two former Yahoo employees told Reuters that the company’s Chief Executive Marissa Mayer made the decision to follow the orders and allow the intelligence officials access to user emails. Mayer has been a critic of the NSA and its spying techniques, in fact, in 2011 she said:
“Releasing classified information is treason. It generally lands you incarcerated.”
It was due to Mayer’s decision that Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos left the company in 2015. It should not worry our readers less that he subsequently started working for Facebook.
When Reuters contacted Yahoo for a statement the company said:
“Yahoo is a law-abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States.”
Remember that in 2013 the NSA had hacked Yahoo and Google data centers to access millions of user accounts, (according to Edward Snowden). The NSA also collected data from Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and other various communication channels through its Prism and Upstream program. Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) NSA was allowed to listen to phone calls as well as access emails of non-Americans outside of the United States.