Compliance Management, Network Security, Privacy

Yahoo’s second wave of declassified FISC docs spotlights battle with feds over PRISM

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Yahoo recently secured the release of the second wave of once-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) documents that detail the firm's dispute with the federal government concerning the release of user data as part of the National Security Agency's controversial PRISM program.

The new documents contain 309 pages of court filings that elaborate on the arguments made by both Yahoo and the federal government. Combined with a 2014 release of more than 1,500 pages of FISC documents, the new documents present the full record of the Yahoo's challenge, according to a May 9 blog post.

In 2007, the U.S. government ordered Yahoo to hand over user data under the Protect America Act. Yahoo refused to comply on the grounds that it felt the demands represented “unconstitutional and overbroad surveillance” and appealed the decision, according to the blog. In 2008, the government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 for each day it failed to comply with the demands.

The appeals court eventually ruled against Yahoo and the company was forced to turn over the information and, until 2014, the court documents surrounding the case were classified.

Yahoo's Head of Global Law Enforcement, Security, and Safety Chris Madsen said in the blog post that the unsealed documents “demonstrates again how we continuously work to protect our users, fighting for transparency into U.S. surveillance laws.”

“While our challenge ultimately did not succeed, efforts to secure declassification of the proceedings did,” Madsen said.

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