It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
According to a new report by Reuters citing anonymous former employees, in 2015, Yahoo covertly built a secret “custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information.”
Reuters noted that Yahoo “complied with a classified US 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.” It is not clear what data, if any, was handed over.
Presuming that the report is correct, it would represent essentially the digital equivalent of a general warrant—which is forbidden by the Fourth Amendment, as Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Andrew Crocker noted on Twitter.
This seems to be the first known case of an American Internet company acting on behalf of the government to search messages in near real time—previous operations captured stored data or intercepted only a handful of target accounts.
Use @Yahoo? They secretly scanned everything you ever wrote, far beyond what law requires. Close your account today.
A national security letter (NSL) is an administrative subpoena issued by the United States federal government to gather information for national security purposes. NSLs do not require prior approval from a judge.
The Stored Communications Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Right to Financial Privacy Act authorize the United States federal government to seek such information that is "relevant" to authorized national security investigations. By law, NSLs can request only non-content information, for example, transactional records and phone numbers dialed, but never the content of telephone calls or e-mails.
NSLs typically contain a nondisclosure requirement, frequently called a "gag order", preventing the recipient of an NSL from disclosing that the FBI had requested the information.
originally posted by: roadgravel
a reply to: SteamyJeans
I bet they all do some in one form or another. With the secrecy required to be kept under law in certain circumstance, it could be very wide spread.
originally posted by: BiffWellington
This is the United States we're talking about. I thought it was just generally assumed that the government had free access to all our communications.
In a phone interview, Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat who represents a portion of Los Angeles County, told Ars that this type of forced government request was "flat out unconstitutional."
"The continuing revelation of our law enforcement and these agencies violating the Constitution shows that there is a break down in oversight," he continued. "The [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] has shown repeatedly that they do not have the ability to protect the Constitution or the rights of Americans, we need another system—thank God we have freedom of the press."
A spokeswoman for Microsoft, Kim Kurseman, e-mailed Ars this statement, and also declined further questions: “We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo.”
For its part, Google was the most unequivocal. Spokesman Aaron Stein e-mailed: "We've never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: 'no way.'"
originally posted by: SteamyJeans
Imho it's best case to just assume that even if you are not "under surveillance " you can easily be back tracked... It's all stored somewhere.
Anything and everything you have said around anything with a Microphone can or will one day be Recorded and just waiting. To be used against you, should the need arise.
But hey, I'm just paranoid.
a reply to: NightSkyeB4Dawn
originally posted by: seattlerat
a reply to: roadgravel
It would be fascinating to learn what (if anything) the "spies" were able to glean from their complete surveillance of yahoo account holder's emails. I also wonder if the recent compromise (by hackers?) had anything to do with any of this.
What happened to the data collected? Did they discard anything that wasn't pertinent to their "investigation" or did they archive it for future "investigations"? We will probably never know, and those that do will probably never tell.