Report have been made against Yahoo claiming that by request from the U.S intelligence agencies, the company created a custom designed software to scan emails coming to all of its users. This leaves customers wondering about the legal means used till the creation of this software by Yahoo.
After these reports, other companies denied being approached by any such agencies with Twitter reported saying that any such approach would be challenged in court. Federal law prohibits companies from sharing any information concerning national security related requests. Twitter sued the Justice Department for permission to disclose more information about such government requests.
Different company spokesmen such as Microsoft say that they have never involved themselves with scanning of email traffic like Yahoo. Microsoft had also sued the Justice Department for the same reason as twitter. Google also declined any such involvement with the government saying that even if any such requests were made by the intelligence agencies would simply be declined.
A certain iPhone was found in a shooting in San Bernardino. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), made a demand to Apple asking them to create a custom software to unlock the phone. Apple declined to do as they were asked by the FBI and successfully fought that demand. The company’s spokesman said they hadn’t received such request and if they did, it would be opposed in court. Facebook also declined receiving such request saying that they would also fight it in court if any such requests were made. The company’s Chief Security Officer was a former Chief Information Security Officer at Yahoo. However, once he discovered about the surveillance program, he resigned from his position as Chief Information Security Officer.
When confronted about the surveillance program, the company said did not deny or confirm the report. He however said that the company is law abiding and that it complies with the law of the country. The company previously fought against NSA in 2008 who tried to get the company involved in a broad surveillance but the company ended up backing down. The company has therefore been noticed making efforts to fight off government surveillance.
Once the surveillance program was created, the company reportedly only shared data for up to 21,499 users which is a relatively low number compared to the 51,499 users that the company had served in a similar six month period. Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter are some among the companies that reveal reports about any request by the government for user data. Yahoo had revealed to the public security letters that it has received over a period of years. The security of the company however deteriorated as the company’s users left their mail services for other companies’ products.