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Yahoo must explain how it got a drug trafficker's deleted email

A judge wants to know why Yahoo could pull off a recovery that's supposedly impossible.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 23, 2016
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AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Were you wondering how Yahoo managed to recover deleted email that was supposedly impossible to retrieve? You're not the only one. A judge has partially granted a motion that orders Yahoo to explain how it recovered deleted email from UK drug trafficking convict Russell Knaggs. It won't have to detail more than how it dealt with the email account in question, but that still means having to say just how it grabbed six months of message drafts when its own policies suggest this should have been impossible. The company has to provide both documents and a relevant witness by August 31st.

For its part, Yahoo has maintained that it scooped up auto-saved drafts using a "proprietary tool," and denies the defense's claims that it had to have had access to government surveillance to collect the information. At the same time, some of Yahoo's own staffers allegedly contradicted each other with their earlier explanations of what happened. It may need a formal, thorough explanation if it doesn't want to maintain doubt and raise Knaggs' hopes for an appeal.

Engadget’s parent company, Verizon, now owns Yahoo. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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