Yahoo might have helped U.S. spying agencies by secretly searching its users’ incoming messages last year, according to a report from Reuters.
This could be the first instance of a U.S.-based internet company obeying such a request, which is believed to have come from the National Security Agency or FBI.
Two former Yahoo employees, as well as a third person familiar with the company’s actions, told Reuters, “The company complied with a classified U.S. government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts.”
It’s not clear what information Yahoo might have been helping federal agencies look for, but Reuters did discover the company was searching for a very specific set of characters. It’s also not clear whether Yahoo actually handed over any data, just that the company was using custom built software to look.
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Edward Snowden, the former NSA subcontractor who leaked agency secrets, tweeted a link to the Reuters report, saying, “Close your account today.”
This discovery comes not long after Yahoo confirmed it was hacked in 2014, compromising some 500 million accounts on the site.