Yahoo Scanned All Users' Emails for Government!
Well...yes..."way" because Google has received thousands of NSA National Security Letters and routinely complies with them -- though these letters can be issued by the NSA or the FBI without their having to obtain a judge's warrant first, and could certainly be challenged in a court. These providers may not be scanning all the information but they will scan and turn over any information the government requests without informing the affected customer.
A Microsoft spokesperson also chimed in, "We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo."
No, maybe not like reported today but Microsoft also routinely complies with government orders almost never challenging them.
In a sense, the way the data is collecting (and the amount collected) -- as shocking and important as that is -- is probably not the most important issue. If you collect and turn over data on any user just because someone in the NSA tells you to, your respect for privacy and constitutional rights is deeply questionable. That's exactly what all these companies do.
Yahoo's latest scandal only underscores how little respect for our rights this industry has.
There are many cases by companies challenging the government on surveillance. Why Yahoo could choose to comply so quickly and not tell anyone about it will certainly provoked widespread circulation and analysis in the coming weeks.
That is something we should all be monitoring.
(Full disclosure: as an official of May First/People Link, I am involved in an international lawsuit challenging the NSA's right to conduct mass surveillance in foreign countries. The "bias" revealed, however, should not surprise any reader of this website.)