Sometime in the early part of 2015, the Justice Department reportedly went to Yahoo officials with an order to search its users’ incoming email messages for certain words. Yahoo complied by building a custom piece of software that sat in the mail system and looked for the terms, which haven’t been made public. The revelations about the mail scanning program last week caused an uproar among security experts and civil liberties groups.
Now, experts at the EFF and Sen. Ron Wyden say that the order served on Yahoo should be made public according to the text of a law passed last year. The USA Freedom Act is meant to declassify certain kinds of government orders, and the EFF says the Yahoo order fits neatly into the terms of the law.
“If the reports about the Yahoo order are accurate – including requiring the company to custom build new software to accomplish the scanning – it’s hard to imagine a better candidate for declassification and disclosure under Section 402," Aaron Mackey of the EFF said.