Yahoo’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year Gets Worse

Joseph Menn, Reuters:

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 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.

According to Menn, the demand was issued by an intelligence agency just last year, and was complied with by Marissa Mayer without legal objection. Unlike the 2014 breach of a Yahoo user database, I very much doubt this will affect Verizon’s proposed acquisition, for obvious reasons.

But, like security breaches, it’s likely that the biggest civil liberties breach since Snowden is not this, but something else that we don’t yet know about. As Menn points out, it’s likely that similar demands were made of other email providers.