Welcome to the machine—Yahoo mail scanning exposes another US spy tool


Enlarge (credit: Aurich / Thinkstock) Imagine a futuristic society in which robots are deployed to everybody’s house, fulfilling a mission to scan the inside of each and every residence. Does that mental image look far-off and futuristic? Well, this week’s Yahoo e-mail surveillance revelations perhaps prove this intrusive robot scenario has already arrived in the digital world. Days ago, Reuters cited anonymous sources and reported that Yahoo covertly built a secret “custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming e-mails for specific information.” Yahoo, the report noted, “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.” Reuters then followed up, saying Yahoo acted at the behest of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Not to be outdone, The New York Times   reported Yahoo used its system designed to scan for child pornography and spam to search for messages containing an undisclosed “signature.” The Times said a FISA judge found probable cause to believe that this digital signature “was uniquely used by a foreign power.” The scanning has ceased, the report noted, but neither of the news agencies said how long the search lasted and when it began. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Welcome to the machine—Yahoo mail scanning exposes another US spy tool


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