The Surveillance State Got Yahoo to Secretly Scan Emails

They even wrote a program for the government that allowed them to secretly scan emails in real time.

Despite promises to protect customer privacy, Yahoo submitted to a secret government order to secretly scan emails and even developed a program to make that possible.

According to Reuters,

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Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this 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.

It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified.

Do you trust the Obama Administration to coerce companies to do this?

If Hillary Clinton wins (or steals) the election, that means that this will be happening under her command and for her benefit. Under Obama the IRS and other agencies went after conservatives. There is zero chance that the government won’t use the ability to get internet companies to secretly scan emails for the same purpose—if it’s not already being used for that purpose.

The government isn’t only spying on us. That’s bad enough. But it is doing so by violating the First Amendment and prohibiting people in these companies from saying what they are being ordered to do. Also, they are doing so by demanding slave labor because Yahoo had to work to create a new program to spy on their customers.

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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