Lawmakers want answers about Yahoo scanning emails for U.S. government

What’s up with Yahoo reportedly helping the government by scanning its users’ incoming emails? Like the rest of us, lawmakers want to know.

So a bipartisan group of 48 representatives on Friday sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, asking to be briefed as soon as possible.

“There is significant confusion regarding the existence and nature of the program described by these reports,” they wrote. “As legislators, it is our responsibility to have accurate information about the intelligence activities conducted by the federal government.”

Yahoo said a program described by Reuters, in which the Sunnyvale internet company supposedly created special software to scan its users’ incoming emails at the request of the FBI, did not exist. The New York Times reported that Yahoo modified an existing program and that it did so under an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Whatever the details of the reported program, it’s not a good sign for Yahoo email users’ security, some experts say. Yahoo also is dealing with another security-related matter: It recently revealed that a 2014 hack may have affected 500 million users. The one-two punch of both reports has prompted Yahoo users to want to dump the service. (By the way, after disabling the auto-forwarding feature last week, the company has restored it, it said today.)

The letter was sent by Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif. and co-signed by dozens of other lawmakers.

 

Above: Images of Yahoo e-mail on various screens. (Courtesy Yahoo)

 

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