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Yahoo discloses how much government data requests it gets

June 18, 2013|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Yahoo is the latest company to share information on the government requests it receives.
Yahoo is the latest company to share information on the government requests… (Paul Sakuma / Associated…)

Yahoo became the fourth major tech company to disclose how much government data requests it gets, following a report that alleged the tech companies are involved in a government surveillance program known as PRISM.

Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said Yahoo received between 12,000 and 13,000 government requests between December 2012 and the end of May. The bulk of these requests were for criminal investigations, including homicides and kidnappings.

"Like all companies, Yahoo! cannot lawfully break out FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) request numbers at this time because those numbers are classified; however, we strongly urge the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue," Mayer said in a blog post

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The Sunnyvale tech company is following in the footsteps of Facebook, Microsoft and Apple in sharing data on the amount of government requests they receive.

The companies are trying to shield themselves from a growing public backlash over damaging revelations that they turned over user data to the National Security Agency's clandestine PRISM program. A former NSA contractor leaked a report uncovering the program earlier this month.

None of the companies, however, have said they were aware of PRISM or were involved with the program.

Regardless, Yahoo announced it will begin issuing law enforcement transparency reports twice a year, a practice followed at Google, Mayer's former company. Mayer said the first report will come later this summer.

"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," she said. "We appreciate — and do not take for granted — the trust you place in us."


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