Yahoo is downplaying a report by Reuters claiming that the company scanned the emails of its users on behalf of the U.S. government.
Reuters alleges Yahoo specially designed software so they could follow directives from the FBI, who asked them to scan emails to share specific information on their users.
In a statement, Yahoo said that the report is “misleading [as] the mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”
“We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimise disclosure,” the statement continued.
The claims have raised serious concerns among privacy campaigners. The Electronic Frontiers Foundation wrote in blog post that “this is the first public indication that the government has compelled a US-based email provider – as opposed to an internet-backbone provider – to conduct surveillance against all its customers in real time.”
“This story is another example of how the government continues to take actions that have serious potential for collateral effects on everyday users,” the post continued.
Claims of Yahoo spying on its users are just one of a number of controversies surrounding the business practices at company. Yahoo recently revealed that their security systems had been hacked, leading to a data breach affecting 500 million of its users.
Former employees of the company have also claimed CEO Marissa Mayer repeatedly refused to provide additional funding to improve security, as well as an existing culture of secrecy at the company. It was even claimed that Mayer and other executives referred to their security team as “the paranoids.”
Yahoo was sold to Verizon for $4.8 billion in June, although the deal is yet to be officially processed.