Yahoo last year complied with a US intelligence request to scan hundreds of millions of incoming emails for a specified set of characters using a search program secretly designed by the company, reports Reuters, quoting people close to the matter. According to surveillance experts, this is the first time a US Internet company has followed an intel agency's request that they scan real-time email instead of stored messages, and in such bulk.
Reuters reports that this did not sit well with senior employees of Yahoo who were not apprised of the directive until after Yahoo's security team spotted the scanning code. The discovery led to then-CISO Alex Stamos quitting the company in May 2015. Sources say Yahoo complied with the classified edict because company executives thought they had no other recourse.
Google and Microsoft said they have not executed such email searches. It is not clear which US intelligence agency made this request and whether Yahoo actually handed over any information.
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