Beacon Transcript – Amidst Verizon sale talks and Yahoo breach rumors, the Internet giant raises questions and fears after sources seem to confirm their easy compliance over federal request to scan the company’s users’ emails.
The issue was brought to the public’s attention by a U.S senator and a number of civil groups opposed to surveillance practices. The two united groups called on the government to release the federal instated request as at least two legal issues seem to have been given new interpretations, causing questions and fears as to the way in which the matter was both presented and handled.
The problem and cause of concern would be the way in which Yahoo dealt with the request in both the technical nature and the scope of the search, as experts found that it covered all of the company’s network.
Sources state that Yahoo, who was issued an order by a secret tribunal, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, reportedly installed a special software program that would scan and search through the emails addresses of hundreds of millions of accounts.
The search was to have targeted a single, specific digital content data, as the four sources have declared, three of which are former Yahoo employees. According to the three, the court-ordered search was carried out with the help of a deeply buried module attached to the Linux kernel, or more exactly, very near the email server’s operating system core and a far throw away from the email’s usual scanning services.
This means that, as opposed to most other usual scans, this would make the program quite hard to find, and even harder to detect its exact function and workings.The purpose of the scan was to have stopped child pornography from being sent via email and spam messages and, as intelligence officials declare, it should have meant a simple modification to Yahoo’s existing systems.
The company already has a number of spam filters who, as opposed to the usual pornography filters that only aim at videos and images, can also detect text data and which are operated by a number of employers who use them to curate messages. This is a clear-cut operation, whose place in the system is well known.
The custom system scan, who was under investigation until the company’s CEO Marissa Mayer’s signature of approval was found, is troubling both because of its unrequired deep nature and because, as the members of the intelligence committee have declared, it is not properly disclosed to the public.
This raises questions and fears as to the nature of the order, who although similar to other online monitoring requests that target terrorists, it is quite a stretch from what powers foreign of the company should be able to access and receive.
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