Last year, Yahoo Inc secretly made a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for explicit information provided by US intelligence officials, according to people acquainted with the problem.
The company conformed to a confidential US government demand, perusing hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the request of the National Security Agency or FBI. Three past employees and a fourth person apprised of the events stated.
Yahoo Secretly Checked Customer’s Emails for US Intelligence
Certain investigation experts said this signifies the first case to surface of a US Internet company approving to an intelligence agency’s request. It is not known what evidence intelligence officials were on the lookout for. Only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a saying in an email or an attachment, the sources revealed.
Reuters was incapable to define what data Yahoo may have given. And if intelligence officials had advanced other email providers other than Yahoo with this kind of entreaty.
According to two previous workers, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s verdict to follow the order churned some senior executives. And headed to the June 2015 exit of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos. Now he holds the top security job at Facebook Inc.
“Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States.”
The company said in a brief report in reply to Reuters questions about the demand.
The appeal to search Yahoo Mail accounts came in the form of a categorized act sent to the company’s lawful team.
US phone and Internet companies are acknowledged to have handed over wholesale customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen such a wide-ranging mandate for real-time Web collection.
Professionals said it was probable that the NSA or FBI had advanced other Internet companies with the same demand. As they clearly did not know what email accounts were being used by the target. The NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI. So it is hard to know which agency is seeking the information.
A Microsoft representative said in a statement,
“We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo.”
The company declined to comment on whether it had received such an appeal.
Under laws counting the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, intelligence supports can inquire US phone and Internet companies. To offer customer data to support foreign intelligence-gathering efforts for a diversity of reasons, including deterrence of terrorist assaults.