Yahoo releases transparency report for last half of 2014

Yahoo released its newest transparency report iteration on Thursday, which demonstrated a drop in requests from the prior six months.
Yahoo released its newest transparency report iteration on Thursday, which demonstrated a drop in requests from the prior six months.

Yahoo received more than 14,000 government requests for user data during the last half of 2014, and of those requests, the company outright rejected 5,082, or 35 percent, according to its transparency report released on Thursday.

The U.S. represented the highest portion of requests at 4,865, which affected nearly 10,000 accounts. Yahoo rejected five percent of requests, and disclosed content for 24 percent. The company also turned over only “non-content data,” such as basic subscriber information, in 59 percent of cases.

“At Yahoo, users always come first,” Ron Bell, general counsel at Yahoo, said in a blog post. “We evaluate each government request with a focus on minimizing disclosure of user data, and we publish a transparency report to promote accountability and transparency.”

Taiwan followed the U.S. with the highest number of government requests. The government made 2,081 requests, of which six percent were rejected.

The company also elaborated on its link removal requests. Two requests were made in the U.S. that mentioned seven items. Only one request was honored. The one that was rejected was received from a government agency that was requesting certain content removed from various domains. None of the domains were hosted by Yahoo, so it did not comply with the order.

Yahoo did report that it received between zero and 999 National Security Letter requests, in accordance with current law that only allows companies to detail these requests in bands of 1,000.

This most recent report demonstrated a marked decrease in requests from the previous half of the year, as well as from the same period in 2013. From January to June, the company received 18,594 requests. The second half of 2013 yielded even more requests at 21,425.

Yahoo backed up its transparency report by pointing out its efforts to encrypt its products, including its recent release of its end-to-end (e2) encryption extension for Yahoo Mail. 

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