Yahoo recently secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails. The request for specific information came from the National Security Agency or FBI, according to two former employees and a third person apprised of the events. According to Reuters, the company complied with a classified U.S. government directive and scanned hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts and handed over the information per the agency’s request.
“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.”
While this might appear to be the first case we know about, if US federal agencies made the demands to Yahoo, we can assume the same demands were made to Google and Microsoft as well. Here are some more reasons to believe the feds are deeply embedded in all of the largest communications companies in the world:
Google: Gmail is one of the most popular email services on the web, and they happen to receive between $3.3 million and $5.3 million in federal jet fuel discounts with no obvious indication as to why they get those discounts. They are also working on creating their own private airstrips and airports with federal support.
Microsoft: Hotmail users says it will notify users the next time their information falls into the hands of the Chinese government or other spying organization, but what about when it’s intentional? Will we ever find out? Why would the Chinese government want any information from US or UK emails? Because information may be the single most valuable commodity on the market today.
“Anyone equipped with enough information can earn obscene profits shaping markets by betting on trends and changes with foolproof insider knowledge.”
When it comes to China, they own massive positions in many of our largest companies as well as a good portion of our debt. Information is serious power and the Chinese are well equipped to benefit from it.
It isn’t just about who is reading our emails or censoring what you do. In fact, most people are probably wondering why they should care about what the Chinese government does. But what happens when the US is confronted about violating user privacy through email spying? Well, in part, they have made it clear they aren’t all that concerned with what citizens think. But, on the other hand, it’s pretty convenient for the feds to say that they didn’t spy on anything when they really didn’t because the Chinese government, who doesn’t have to be concerned with our laws, did it for them.
Could it be we outsource our spying just like any other manufacturing or production task we send to China? Pretty convenient.
If you think your information is safe in any way on the Internet, from instant messages to the very details of your web pages, think again. The fact that only Yahoo got exposed does not mean that every other email service is safe or private.
So, watch out what you say on email, who knows, it could come back to bite you.
But, is there a way to actually keep your messages private? Yes. It’s called secure or encrypted email used by many companies. Individuals can access inexpensive secure services as well. We’re researching the best options ourselves. Here’s what we’ve found so far.Read More