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Yahoo reveals scale of US surveillance requests

Joins Google, Facebook and Apple
Tue Jun 18 2013, 09:58

INTERNET PORTAL Yahoo has come forward with a statement about US surveillance of its users.

The firm followed statements by Facebook, Google and Apple, and like those firms it said that the revelation was made possible by permission of the US authorities.

Yahoo's statement entitled "Our Commitment to Our Users' Privacy" was posted to the Yahoo Tumblr feed last night. Signed by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and general counsel Ron Bell, it echoed the messages from the other firms, explaining that most of the requests it received were part of run of the mill criminal investigations.

"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," it said.

"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."

Yahoo, like the other large internet firms, wants the US federal government to be more open with regard to PRISM and FISA requests. It said that all information about surveillance requests remains classified, adding, "we strongly urge the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue."

Mayer and Bell said that Yahoo will release its first transparency report this summer. This will be updated twice a year.

"Democracy demands accountability," they added. "As always, we will continually evaluate whether further actions can be taken to protect the privacy of our users and our ability to defend it. We appreciate - and do not take for granted - the trust you place in us."

Yahoo's report came from the same time period as Apple's, and it reported almost twice as many requests as the cappuccino company.

Facebook's and Microsoft's disclosures covered an earlier six month period in the latter half of 2012. µ


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