December 22, 2016

Yahoo slammed over privacy after reports of mass email scanning

In the wake of a second explosive report alleging that Yahoo scanned users’ emails for a federal agency, critics are attacking the company’s stewardship of customers’ private information.

And a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a think tank, warns that software Yahoo reportedly created for the real-time scanning could be used to sweep up the private communications of innocent users.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Yahoo secretly scanned users’ incoming email in real time to comply with a demand from the federal government. Yahoo on Wednesday issued a cryptic denial, calling the Reuters story, which was based on anonymous sources, “misleading.”

“The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems,” Yahoo said in the statement.

“People just have to be more aware that your information may or may not be private, depending on the executives within an organization and their commitment to protecting your privacy,” said Michael Lipinski, chief security analyst at digital-security firm Securonix.

The reports suggest Yahoo gave in to the order without a fight, and if that is the case, it “just shows where (Yahoo executives’) heads are as far as their concern for people’s privacy, Lipinski said.

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