Google, Apple, Microsoft Deny Yahoo-Style Email Scanning For The Government

Google Gmail

In the wake of a report outing Yahoo's email scanning program for the government, a handful of other major tech firms have gone on record saying they don't snoop your incoming messages for Uncle Sam. Those firms include Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, four of which pretty much denied ever receiving such a request from the U.S. government.

"We’ve never received a request like this, and were we to receive it we’d challenge it in a court. Separately, while federal law prohibits companies from being able to share information about certain types of national security related requests, we are currently suing the Justice Department for the ability to disclose more information about government requests," Twitter told Vocative.

Facebook and Apple both said they would challenge any such request, if the government were to ever make one, while Google said its response would be a simple, "No way." Like Facebook, all three said they'd never received a request from the government to scan email messages.

Only Microsoft refrained from outright denying the government has ever asked it to snoop email messages, though it also offered the most canned response of all five firms. Like the rest, Microsoft made an effort to distance itself from Yahoo in that regard.

"We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo," Microsoft said.

This all follows a recent report by Reuters that Yahoo built a customer scanner to snoop through email accounts belonging to millions of customers without their knowledge. The scanner was designed and built under the direction of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Marissa Mayer
Image Source: Flickr (Magnus Höij)

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer if facing heavy criticism for her decision not to the fight the intelligence agencies. It was an unpopular decision among Yahoo's top ranks and was a big reason why former Yahoo Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos left the firm to join Facebook.

This is the mess that Verizon is inheriting as it looks to complete a proposed $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo.