Yahoo Fought NSA PRISM Compliance In Court [Report]

Yahoo reportedly went to court to fight a NSA PRSIM court order in 2008 on 4th Amendment grounds, but lost.

At that point, Yahoo may have decided that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Last week, several high-profile tech companies including Yahoo emphatically denied cooperating with the federal government’s massive data mining program that was revealed last week by leaker/whistleblower Edward Snowden. This formerly top-secret surveillance initiative in the name of national security tracks internet traffic and communication of a highly varied nature including status, updates, private emails, instant messages, texts, uploaded videos, and much more.

Yahoo has asserted that no government agency has any direct access to its servers, systems, or network.

According to the New York Times, however, Yahoo went to the court five years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid participating in the now-controversial program. This just has come to light in a heavily redacted court order, the Times claims. “In a secret court in Washington, Yahoo’s top lawyers made their case. The government had sought help in spying on certain foreign users, without a warrant, and Yahoo had refused, saying the broad requests were unconstitutional. The judges disagreed. That left Yahoo two choices: Hand over the data or break the law. So Yahoo became part of the National Security Agency’s secret Internet surveillance program, PRISM, according to leaked N.S.A. documents, as did seven other Internet companies.”


Once the FISA court made its ruling, the other tech companies apparently may have fell in line too: “But the decision has had lasting repercussions for the dozens of companies that store troves of their users’ personal information and receive these national security requests — it puts them on notice that they need not even try to test their legality.”

In the Yahoo case, the court dismissed Yahoo’s claim of unreasonable searches and seizures under the 4th Amendment as “overblown.”

Lawyers for tech companies prefer to privately negotiate with the federal government over such national security requests rather than go to court, the Times added.

Do you accept the denials from tech companies that they are facilitating government domestic data mining?