Yahoo email scan shows U.S. spy push to recast constitutional privacy

December 22, 2016

Yahoo Inc’s secret scanning of customer emails at the behest of a U.S. spy agency is part of a growing push by officials to loosen constitutional protections Americans have against arbitrary governmental searches, according to legal documents and people briefed on closed court hearings.

The order on Yahoo from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) last year resulted from the government’s drive to change decades of interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment right of people to be secure against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” intelligence officials and others familiar with the strategy told Reuters.

The unifying idea, they said, is to move the focus of U.S. courts away from what makes something a distinct search and toward what is “reasonable” overall.

The basis of the argument for change is that people are making much more digital data available about themselves to businesses, and that data can contain clues that would lead to authorities disrupting attacks in the United States or on U.S. interests abroad.

While it might technically count as a search if an automated program trawls through all the data, the thinking goes, there is no unreasonable harm unless a human being looks at the result of that search and orders more intrusive measures or an arrest, which even then could be reasonable.

  • justinwachin

    Once again this confirms the wisdom of my decision to use my Yahoo account as a receptacle for junk mail.

  • Buford

    If the capability for abuse exists, it will be. It is too tempting to use against political rivals for the commies among us to keep their sticky fingers out, and they WILL take advantage.

  • Tiger

    We know this is bunk because those needing to be listened to have the ability to not be heard. So this is for us but I have news for them, millions of us also know how to skirt under their wires.

  • Askjrsk

    Big brother is watching. Must be 1984.

    • RuFus92

      Obama got closer than you think.

      • Askjrsk

        Glad he’s in The Washington DC area. He’ll be close for taking into custody and federal prison. After Michael and he come home from taxpayer funded trip to Hawaii.

        • Retired

          If we could only be so lucky. lets go to NY and pick up the Clintons and take both families to GITMO for a permanent vacation.

          • Askjrsk

            You driving?

          • Retired

            It will be a garbage truck with them in the back.

          • Askjrsk

            I’ll be watching for you. It’s a big job for us shoveling all that sheet , man.

  • Wolfman

    Then if a human cannot use it or even claim it to get a search warrant/ arrest/ interview/ ANYTHING…it’s purpose is what???????….Oh Yeah! I get it …the part about them not going to look at it or use it is the Fake News part….gotcha almost forgot about the new normal…when talking to the public lie 180 degrees opposite of what you really mean so that the public actually does know what you mean….Now it makes sense!!

  • teaman

    The majority of our Constitution has no protection for non-citizens, therefore Gooberment should constantly watch these people no matter how they do it. Obama has let way to many ILLEGALS into our Nation most of which hate us and WILL do us harm if given the chance!!

    • Tiger

      That all was stopped under O including monitoring the lists we had on them, O scrubbed them. This is for us. Trump will take care of business.

      • Askjrsk

        You bet he will

        • Tiger

          He either does it or we fight. We have a plan out where I live hope everyone does.

  • Webb



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