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PRISM: Yahoo reveals 13,000 data requests from snooping spooks

18 Jun 2013
Yahoo building in silhouette

Yahoo has revealed it received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests for customer data from the US government, as it follows the likes of Apple in reporting the data it has had to give to the authorities in the US.

Yahoo chief executive officer Marissa Mayer and general counsel Ron Bell issued a public statement confirming the news, promising the data disclosed was given for legitimate reasons.

"We've worked hard over the years to earn our users' trust and we fight hard to preserve it. To that end, we are disclosing the total number of requests for user data that law enforcement agencies in the US made to us between December 1 2012 and May 31 2013," said the statement.

"During that time period, we received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests, inclusive of criminal, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa), and other requests. The most common of these requests concerned fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations."

Mayer and Bell said Yahoo's desire to be more forthcoming about the requests early on was hampered by the laws around Fisa enquiries. "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," read the statement.

"Democracy demands accountability. Recognising 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."

Yahoo is one of many companies revealed to have received an inordinate amount of data requests from US government agencies. Apple was revealed to have received over 5,000 data requests from the US government over a six-month period.

Reports that the US government was hoarding vast sums of customer data from tech companies first broke earlier this month, when leaked documents revealed the National Security Agency (NSA) had been siphoning information from Microsoft, Facebook and Google.

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Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

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