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Report: Yahoo scanned emails for U.S. intelligence agencies

According to a Reuters report, Yahoo has been scanning customers’ emails on behalf of the the FBI and NSA in the United States.

The report says that last year Yahoo, now in the hands of Verizon, built a piece of custom software in order to search ‘hundreds of millions’ of Yahoo Mail accounts for a single phrase.

The program searched for ‘specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials,’ according to the report.

It is said to be the first time a U.S. internet company has been caught searching all incoming messages on behalf of a spy agency.

One expert, speaking to Reuters, described it as an unprecedented ‘wiretap in real time.’ Usually phone and internet companies hand over the requested information in bulk.

Related: Verizon buys Yahoo – 5 reasons it’s a good idea

According to the report, the request was made in 2015, via a classified directive. Those familiar with the matter say CEO Marissa Mayer decided to comply with the request ‘because they thought they would lose’ a fight against it.

Yahoo has played the accusations with a straight bat with a short statement saying: “Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States.”

The story comes just a week after it was revealed 500 million Yahoo Mail email accounts were hacked in 2014. The company called it a state sponsored attack.
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