People Are Reading Your E-Mails Even Before You Do

In the novel “Digital Fortress” Dan Brown constructed a fictional story where the NSA(National Security Agency) went through millions of people’s e-mails in search of information that could be useful for the sake of the intelligence agencies with the help of a super-computer. When it was published in 1998, many people may not have thought that it was a realistic premise but now it’s not far from the truth at all.

We already know that the U.S. is spying on people thanks to the Snowden case, so governments are already a part of the big picture. In the two recent articles in The Guardian and Data Breach Today we find out that Yahoo , who in 2007 went to court against a government surveillance program to protect their users from unwanted eyes, is now working for them to scan and read through their whole network.

Yahoo HQ

In his Data Breach Today article Jeremy Kirk reports that the first incidence of this software was found by Yahoo security team members. Their first impression was that it was a massive hack attempt. However, it was later discovered that the software had been created by Yahoo. This shows that even within the company, most employees didn’t have a clue about what was going on. Moreover, Kirk stated that the spying software contained programming flaws that might have made their network vulnerable to hackers. At first, Yahoo denied all accusations, however when the information that they had complied while acting in accordance with a government directive to build such a system leaked, Yahoo couldn’t keep up the denial.

The Data Breach Today article linked the incident to an older article from 2013 about what information Edward Snowden leaked. Apparently, the data collected with the help of this method and many others goes into the data pool of government security agencies and is claimed to be used only as an early warning system against possible acts of terrorism, referred to as PRISM. What is more scary is the fact that while the U.S. protects the privacy of it’s citizens’ data, it has no laws keeping it’s security agencies from spying on foreigners. So, they can do whatever they want with a huge chunk of this data.

Microsoft , Apple and Google haven’t had any big scandals just yet but we know that big companies leak information for the sake of profit. So, it’s safe to assume that someone might have already read your e-mails even before you opened them.

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