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Hey! spies! Get! in! here! and! explain! this! Yahoo! email-scanning! 'kernel! module!'

US Congress demands answers on what exactly was slurped and how

By Shaun Nichols, 14 Oct 2016

Four dozen members of US Congress have signed a letter requesting a full briefing on the Yahoo! email scandal.

In the letter, addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and US director of national intelligence James Clapper, the bipartisan group of representatives asks that they be provided with more information on the relationship between American intelligence agencies and the beleaguered Marissa-Mayer-led internet giant.

The letter references the news reports and various statements from Yahoo! over its policy of screening incoming email for terrorism-related keywords at the request of NSA or FBI snoops.

Citing the at-times conflicting reports on the extent of the program (including allegations that Yahoo! engineers, under a secret court order, installed on their Linux servers a buggy kernel-mode module to scan incoming traffic), the letter asks Lynch and Clapper to bring the House of Representatives into the matter by providing a full briefing on just how the agencies had been working with the Purple Palace to spy on their webmail customers.

"There is significant confusion regarding the existence and nature of the program described by these reports and the legal questions implicated by the accuracy of specific details," the letter reads.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! is taking a small step to calm down its users by re-enabling the ability to forward messages from their Yahoo! Mail accounts to other inboxes. The Purple Palace denied that the move to disable forwarding had anything to do with either the government surveillance revelation or the massive hack that exposed the details of 500 million Mail accounts.

"Over the past year, Yahoo Mail has been upgrading its platform. This has allowed us to bring a better search experience to Yahoo Mail, add multiple account support, and improve performance as we quickly scale this new system globally," writes Mail VP of product management Michael Albers.

"The feature was temporarily disabled as part of this process." ®

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