Yahoo details government requests for data


The US government made 6,791 requests for data to Yahoo in the first six months of the year, more than twice the number made by any other country.

According to Yahoo's Government Data Requests report, the firm received 2,872 requests for data by Germany (second only to the US), while the UK submitted 1,408 requests.

However, out of these 6,971 requests by US authorities, only 382 were rejected by Yahoo. The firm rejected 575 requests from the UK while Germany saw 1,529 of its requests (over half) fall on deaf ears at Yahoo.

In the report, Yahoo said that while it complied with lawful requests for data, it carefully scrutinised "each request to make sure that it complies with the law, and we push back on those requests that don't satisfy our rigorous standards."

In a blog post, Yahoo general counsel Ron Bell, said the publication of the report was to continue "our efforts to provide as much information as we can about government requests for our users' data and government requests to remove content".

He said, despite handing over data to authorities, Yahoo's users would "always come first".

Bell added the firm would "narrowly" interpret government requests to minimise disclosure of user data, contest requests it believed may violate a user's human rights, including rights to privacy or free expression as well as publish its transparency report.

"An important example of how we put users first is our recent effort to push the US Government to release 1,500 pages of once-secret documents detailing our 2007-08 challenge to the expansion of US surveillance laws," said Bell. "We are still pushing for the FISC to release additional materials from this case.

"Through the Reform Government Surveillance Group, we are advocating for reform to ensure that US surveillance laws are transparent, reasonable and subject to independent oversight," he added.

"On the international front, a number of countries seek to expand their surveillance authorities beyond their borders. We will continue our efforts to protect your information from unclear, improper, overbroad or unlawful government requests."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.