Yahoo last year secretly built a custom-made software program to scan all of its clients’ incoming emails on behalf of the US government.
Reuters reports the company complied with a classified US government directive, issued last year. The searches were requested by the FBI and the NSA, three sources claimed.
Exactly what intelligence officials were looking for is not known, neither is the type of data Yahoo may have handed over, or if other email providers were approached with similar requests.
Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States.
The claims come just under two weeks after the technology company announced hackers had stolen data on a number of its users.
According to two of the former employees, Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc.
“Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States,” the company said in a brief statement in response to Reuters questions about the demand.
The request to search Yahoo Mail accounts came in the form of a classified edict sent to the company’s legal team, according to the three people familiar with the matter.