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Yahoo: Reports that we scanned user emails at NSA’s behest are “misleading”

For Yahoo, the barrage of bad news just keeps coming. 

Following a Reuters report claiming that the company custom-built software designed to scan incoming emails, in response to NSA demands, Yahoo has been playing defense. Yesterday the company told Engadget, in a statement, that the “mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”

Critics pounced, noting the careful wording. Back in 2013, Yahoo denied that it had “volunteered” information about its users to federal agencies—even though no one had accused the company of volunteering anything.

The Reuters story comes at a particularly bad time for Yahoo, which earlier this year agreed to sell its core business to Verizon for $4.8 billion. Last month, Yahoo acknowledged that over 500 million user accounts had been compromised in a 2014 security breach—information that it failed to mention to Verizon as integration discussions were getting underway. 

Verizon so far has declined to comment on whether the breach will affect the acquisition. If the telecom giant determines that Yahoo’s security issues have had a “material adverse effect,” it may be able to terminate the deal or negotiate a cheaper price. AH