Yahoo Secretly Scanned Millions of Customer Emails for U.S. Authorities [Updated]

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    Yahoo secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information at the behest of U.S. intelligence authorities, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Reuters spoke to three former Yahoo employees who revealed the existence of the custom code, apparently written in compliance with a classified U.S. government demand. The program scanned hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts for the NSA or FBI, said the former employees and a fourth person with knowledge of the events.

    [​IMG]

    Surveillance experts say the revelation represents the first case to surface of a U.S. internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

    According to two former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's decision to obey the directive did not sit well with some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos. Stamos now holds the top security job at Facebook, which incidentally just completed the rollout of end-to-end encrypted privacy features for its hugely popular Messenger app.

    "Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States," the company told Reuters in response to the claims, but stopped short of denying them. It declined any further comment. The NSA referred questions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which also declined to comment.

    According to Andrew Crocker, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it's likely the request invoked Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits the bulk collection of communications for the purpose of targeting a foreign individual. But rather than having a non-U.S. target, every single person with a Yahoo email inbox was placed under surveillance, regardless of citizenship.

    Speaking to The Intercept, Crocker said the Yahoo program seems "in some ways more problematic and broader" than previously revealed NSA bulk surveillance programs like PRISM or Upstream collection efforts. "It's hard to think of an interpretation that doesn't mean Yahoo isn't being asked to scan all domestic communications without a warrant or probable cause. The Fourth Amendment implications of that are pretty staggering."

    It's unclear what data Yahoo may have handed over to the authorities, if any, and if intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo with the same kind of request.

    Contacted by The Intercept, an Apple spokesperson said: "We have never received a request of this type, and if we were to receive one, we would oppose it in court." The spokesperson also pointed to a section from a recent public letter by CEO Tim Cook, which he said was still accurate:
    Facebook, Google, and Microsoft separately said on Tuesday that they had not conducted such email searches. "We've never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: 'No way'", a spokesman for Google said in a statement. Twitter also said it has never received such a request.

    In related news last month, Yahoo revealed that "state-sponsored" hackers had gained access to 500 million customer accounts in 2014. The revelations come at a sensitive time for the company as it tries to complete a deal to sell its core business to Verizon for $4.8 billion.

    Update: Yahoo has disputed parts of the Reuters report, saying that "the article is misleading" and that the email scanning outlined in the report "does not exist on our systems."
    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Yahoo Secretly Scanned Millions of Customer Emails for U.S. Authorities [Updated]
     
  2. Gooberton macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #2
    Wowwwwww. I knew I hated yahoo. Now I really know why. Pansy ass dipsticks!!
     
  3. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    #3
    To have a modern online life, most people have no choice but to trust companies with their data, such as emails in this case.

    Now - I don't really trust any of them 100%, but since I have to choose I have chosen Apple because I distrust Apple the least, if that makes sense.
     
  4. xDKP macrumors 65816

    xDKP

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    Denmark
    #4
    wow... just wow... Way to demolish the trust of users...
     
  5. d0minick macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    #6
    that was my porn e-mail account. what a mistake! LOL
     
  6. joueboy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #7
    Call me crazy but there's no doubt in my mind that others have done it as well. Especially G!
     
  7. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Ireland
  8. Hanzu Lao Suspended

    Hanzu Lao

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    #9
    The biggest problem that nobody really knows what is going on there behind closed doors late at night.
     
  9. discounteggroll macrumors 6502

    discounteggroll

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    Location:
    Greenwich, CT
    #10
    snitches get stitches! Or at least in my case, countless spam emails from throwaway accounts
     
  10. bytethese macrumors 68030

    bytethese

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Location:
    Cranford, NJ
    #11
    Well, thankfully I only use Yahoo for my Fantasy Football team. Now everyone knows how horrible I am.
     
  11. macfacts macrumors 68030

    macfacts

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Location:
    Cybertron
    #12
    Save some of the hate for the FBI and NSA
     
  12. Zarniwoop, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016

    Zarniwoop macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Location:
    West coast, Finland
    #13
    The ultimate power! USA wants to be God. The original sin of man. And the power has not corrupted anyone during the known history, right?
     
  13. needfx macrumors 68040

    needfx

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    macrumors apparently
    #14
    I thought yahoo died along with its messenger service about 12 years ago
     
  14. iOSFangirl6001 macrumors 6502

    iOSFangirl6001

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    #15
    And yet some called me crazy and weird for dumping their services and even scoffed :rolleyes: the last laugh would feel better if it wasn't over privacy invasion:(
    --- Post Merged, Oct 5, 2016 ---
    Lol sadly nope just faded into obscurity cloaked in the misguided trust of their few dozen remaining users :p
     
  15. subjonas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
    #16
    I wonder if all all these news stories about Yahoo show up in Yahoo News. They would get 1% of my respect back if so.
     
  16. doctor-don macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    Georgia USA
    #17
    Hope they are using it to root out all the criminals, terrorists and pedophiles.

    This is another viper program (like AT&T's) - since 2001.

    Yahoo has had a woman as CEO since July 2012.
     
  17. subjonas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
    #18
    Don't even humor him.
     
  18. djcerla macrumors 68000

    djcerla

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Location:
    Italy
  19. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #20
    I can only imagine how many lives these secret initiatives have saved. The NSA and FBI probably have to use their imagination as well, since it's doubtful they've saved any.
     
  20. 2457282 Suspended

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    #21
    As yahoo tries to sell itself this has certainly affected the price negotiation. I can imagine many previously interested buyers will walk away now.
     
  21. PBRsg macrumors 6502

    PBRsg

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    #22
    I have officially have had enough of the way politicians and authorities are behaving these days and they way they hold citizens in comtempt. Things need to dramatically change, and quickly.
     
  22. cerote macrumors 6502a

    cerote

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    #23
    Think if they were scanning every email they would have better spam control.
     
  23. PBRsg macrumors 6502

    PBRsg

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    #24
    BTW, if you think Google is any better... Apple probably is, though.
     
  24. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    Location:
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    #25
    Which, without a warrant, is against the law, and unconstitutional. But that probably doesn't worry you, yet.
     

Share This Page