Yahoo says it faced $250,000 daily fines for defying US surveillance requests

Yahoo's disclosure comes amid newly unsealed court documents

The U.S. government once threatened to fine Yahoo US$250,000 a day if it failed to assist with its surveillance efforts, Yahoo said Thursday.

Yahoo said it was threatened with the fines after it challenged surveillance powers granted to the U.S. government under the Protect America Act of 2007. The information has come to light now because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees how those laws are implemented, agreed to unseal documents in the case.

Yahoo said it was "extremely rare" for the court to make such records public. It highlighted some of their contents in a blog post and said it would soon post the 1,500 pages of unsealed documents online.

"We consider this an important win for transparency," Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell said in a blog post.

Yahoo said it challenged the surveillance request on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and overly broad. But it failed in its bid and was ordered by the court to hand over data about its users.

The government was looking to collect "foreign intelligence information" about "targets reasonably believed to be located outside the United States," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in its own blog post. The court said it was acceptable for the surveillance to include U.S. citizens if they were outside the country.

Documents leaked last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden detailed sophisticated surveillance methods used by the U.S. government to gather data held by online companies including Yahoo, Google and Microsoft. One of the programs, dubbed PRISM, claimed the NSA was tapping into companies' servers, according to those documents.

The high-tech firms have sought to emphasize their efforts to fight the government data requests and reject any suggestion that they participated willingly in the information gathering.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesYahoosecuritygovernmentinternetsearch enginesprivacy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?