Ir­ish data Com­mis­sioner steps up probe into Ya­hoo email scan­ning

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

LON­DON: Ire­land’s Data Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner (DPC) said on Mon­day it was try­ing to as­cer­tain if Ya­hoo! Inc’s de­ci­sion to scan clients’ email ac­counts at the be­hest of the US au­thor­i­ties last year broke Euro­pean law. Sources have told Reuters that Ya­hoo used a soft­ware pro­gram to sift through mil­lions of emails for spe­cific in­for­ma­tion re­lated to na­tional se­cu­rity.

At the time last month, the DPC said it was seek­ing more in­for­ma­tion from Ya­hoo. Now it has be­gun ac­tively in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case, it said on Mon­day. “We are in reg­u­lar con­tact with Ya­hoo! EMEA (Europe, Mid­dle East and Africa) in clar­i­fy­ing cer­tain facts of this case and will then pro­ceed to take ap­pro­pri­ate next steps,” a DPC spokes­woman said in a state­ment. Ya­hoo did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. Last month, it de­clined to con­firm whether Euro­peans’ emails were in­ter­cepted as part of the pro­gram. Ya­hoo said it com­plied with the laws of the United States.

Lawyers said mass sur­veil­lance of EU ci­ti­zens email would be against in­com­ing Euro­pean Union data rules. The DPC, the lead Euro­pean reg­u­la­tor on pri­vacy is­sues for Ya­hoo be­cause its Euro­pean head­quar­ters are in Dublin, is try­ing to as­cer­tain what ex­actly Ya­hoo did and whether it breached the pri­vacy rules that pre­vailed last year.

“We are re­ceiv­ing ac­tive and en­gaged re­sponses to our queries,” the spokes­woman said. An­a­lysts said the email scan­ning could prompt Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions to re­think the terms of a planned $4.8 bil­lion takeover of Ya­hoo. — Reuters

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