Yahoo! Snoops Through Your Emails for the Government

Written by Kody Fairfield

Co-Host of Liberty Coast 2 Coast   Follow on Twitter: @K0D_4

Today, we know about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) immense overreach into the private lives of American citizens, in direct violation of their 4th Amendment rights. What we were not aware of was the fact that private businesses are now apparently aiding and abetting the government obtaining intelligence.

As reported by Reuters, Yahoo! Inc. built a custom software program to search all of its customers incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. Intelligence officials.

The company willfully complied the governments request to scan all incoming documents for the NSA or FBI, according to former employees, and people who were aware of the situation.

It would appear that this was the first instance of a US internet provider agreeing to provide the government with their customer’s arriving messages, as opposed to using stored messages or scanning small amounts in real time.

The exact phrases of which were searched, are not known. What is known is that the software was too look for certain characters in the incoming messages or attachments.

According to the same Reuters report,

“Reuters was unable to determine what data Yahoo may have handed over, if any, and if intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo with this kind of request.”

Other former employees of Yahoo! have claimed that the decision of Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Meyer’s to obey the government’s directive upset some senior executives and led to the departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now works for Facebook Inc.

In response to their story breaking with Reuters, Yahoo! released a statement saying, “Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States.”

When Reuters asked for comment from Stamos, he declined. The NSA referred questions to the Director of National Intelligence, who also declined to comment.

Republican Congressman from Michigan, Justin Amash tweeted this about the Yahoo! story:

Former NSA employee, and whistle blower Edward Snowden, weighed in on the revelations from Yahoo! with some pretty pointed tweets. Even linking the intelligence gathering to the negotiations between the US and EU which would have led to a data sharing relationship between the two entities.