The Slatest

Yahoo Let U.S. Government Search All of Customers’ Incoming Emails, Report Says

Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, on May 23, 2014. (The things in the picture that look like flowers are actually secret government microphones.)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Yahoo built software last year that allowed the U.S. government to search all of its customers’ incoming emails, according to sources who spoke to Reuters, which calls this program possibly the first of its kind:

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.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to a spy agency’s demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.


The Reuters report says that the company’s cooperation with the government “led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos,” who is said to have resigned in protest because he had not been consulted about the decision.

Reuters does not say if or when the search program was shut down.

In any case, it seems that the Yahoo account I set up in like 2004 to play fantasy baseball has been deeply compromised by government spooks! I hope the thing the NSA was looking for wasn’t “people who badly mismanaged fantasy baseball teams in 2004.”