Yahoo! discloses data requests and will soon introduce transparency reports

Yahoo Headquarters

Yahoo Headquarters

Yahoo! has joined other tech giants named in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM scandal in defending its innocence by releasing data requests from the government.

In a release co-signed by CEO Marissa Mayer and General Counsel Ron Bell, the company states that in last six months it has received between 12 000 and 13 000 requests based on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as well as those made by other US law enforcement agencies.

According to release, Yahoo! says that most of the user data requests it received pertained to fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations.

“Like all companies, Yahoo! cannot lawfully break out FISA request numbers at this time because those numbers are classified; however, we strongly urge the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue,” says the statement.

Following the new revelations, it seems the company would like to solidify its position on privacy and has decided to introduce regular transparency reports starting in the coming months.

“Democracy demands accountability. Recognizing the important role that Yahoo! can play in ensuring accountability, we will issue later this summer our first global law enforcement transparency report, which will cover the first half of the year. We will refresh this report with current statistics twice a year.”

PRISM has had implicated tech companies in arms over their user data, most revealing user data request in the last six months from the government. Apple revealed it received between 4 000 to 5 000 requests for user data from the government, involving 9 000 to 10 000 Apple accounts and devices. Microsoft said that it received between 6 000 and 7 000 requests involving more than 31 000 accounts in the last six months. While Facebook claimed its FISA numbers were between 9 000 and 10 000 which involved 18 000 — 19 000 user accounts that were queried by the US government.

Google has not yet revealed its user data requests but have criticized other tech companies for revealing data requests as their numbers do not give a proper breakdown of the type of requests or from which agency each request came.

PRISM has gripped the attention of the world and the media in last few weeks following Edward Snowden’s startling revelations and claims that there is more to come. United States President Barack Obama has also finally spoken out on the scandal, defending the NSA’s action.



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