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Yahoo Denies Scanning Customer E-Mails for the U.S. Government

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Yahoo is denying a report that accuses the tech titan of scanning customer e-mails at the U.S. government’s behest.

Reuters article yesterday said Yahoo, after receiving a top-secret U.S. government order, had built a software program to scan all incoming e-mails for information that might be of interest to U.S. intelligence agencies

Yahoo issued a statement today refuting the report, however.

“We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure,” Yahoo said in a statement. “The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”

Reuters, in its report, linked the exit of Alex Stamos as the company’s chief security officer, to the e-mail scanning, saying Stamos was angry and left Yahoo after discovering CEO Marissa Mayer had given the OK for the software to be built.

Stamos has declined to comment.

Although the news publication cited “three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events,” the report did go on to say that “Reuters was unable to determine what data Yahoo may have handed over, if any, and if intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo with this kind of request.”

A number of U.S. technology firms, including Google and Microsoft, have said they have never received such requests from the government and, if they did, they would decline to co-operate.

So far, the NSA and FBI have remained quiet, neither confirming nor denying making such a request of Yahoo.

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