Yahoo announced on its blog that it was publishing its first transparency report to share details of government requests for user data.  The company follows others that have published similar figures in light of recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance program.

From the Washington Post:

Yahoo said Friday that it has received 12,444 requests for data from the U.S. government so far this year that covers the accounts of 40,322 users overall.

In its first government transparency report, the Web giant said it rejected just 2 percent of those federal government requests. Yahoo released the report to share some data about what governments around the world have asked the firm to disclose about its users in the first half of 2013.

As with other technology companies, Yahoo said that the report includes statistics for requests made through national security letters and those made under the Foreign Intelligence Service Act, in addition to other requests from law enforcement.

In 55% of US government requests, only non-content data, such as basic subscriber information, was disclosed.  Content was disclosed in 37% of the requests.  Yahoo defines content as information that could include “words in a communication (e.g., Mail or Messenger), photos on Flickr, files uploaded, Yahoo Address Book entries, Yahoo Calendar event details, thoughts recorded in Yahoo Notepad or comments or posts on Yahoo Answers or any other Yahoo property.”


In June, other companies like Facebook and Microsoft published the number of requests they’d received from the government, under the same limitations that national security requests could not be separated from the aggregate number of requests.

Google and Microsoft continue to pushback against the government in arguing for the authority to publish the number of national security demands for user content in a manner that is distinct from other law enforcement requests.  Last week, Microsoft announced that it would move forward with a lawsuit on the matter.


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