Apparently the NSA & UK “tapped the fiber-optic cables connecting Google’s and Yahoo’s overseas servers and are copying vast amounts of email and other information” as reported by the New York Times. The report went on to say that “the British agency known as Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ” was collecting this data in a partnership with the NSA, however:
Google and Yahoo said on Wednesday that they were unaware of government accessing of their data links.
The Washington Post reported that David Drummond Google’s chief legal officer stated Google had:
….long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping…. and has not provided the government with access to its systems.
We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform…
Also the Washington Post reported a comment from Yahoo:
We have strict controls in place to protect the security of our data centers, and we have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency.
Given the class actions challenging Google & Yahoo’s scanning free webmail in violation of the Federal Wire Tap Act this revelation about the NSA & GCHQ’s copying eMail seems to make these cases more complicated.