Yahoo Issues Its First-Ever Transparency Report Detailing Government Data Requests

The report "details governments requests for user data from January 1, 2013, through June 30, 2013."

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Yahoo’s general counsel Ron Bell has a post on the company’s Tumblr page pointing to Yahoo’s first ever transparency report. The report “details governments requests for user data from January 1, 2013, through June 30, 2013.”

The report is broken down into 17 areas around the world: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.

Each includes the number of requests made by the corresponding governments alongside how many of the requests resulted in disclosures of no data and how many requests resulted in the disclosure of some data.

Here’s a screengrab from Yahoo’s PDF:

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 1.07.09 PM


As for countries and regions that aren’t represented, Yahoo’s report says, “The countries listed are those in which Yahoo has a legal entity, and therefore, government agencies in those countries could potentially seek and obtain user data through compulsory legal process.”

As for the process behind how Yahoo handles government requests for user data, Bell writes:

Our legal department demands that government data requests be made through lawful means and for lawful purposes. We regularly push back against improper requests for user data, including fighting requests that are unclear, improper, overbroad or unlawful. In addition, we mounted a two-year legal challenge to the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and recently won a motion requiring the U.S. Government to consider further declassifying court documents from that case.

Though this is Yahoo’s first report, Bell writes that it will be updated every six months.

Yahoo! Transparency Report []


It's been since Feb of 2007 that this data has been requested to be made public. In a Senate hearing on the turning over of information about jailed Chinese dissidents, Yahoo General Counsel Michael Callahan was asked repeated about their collaboration with the NSA. His eventual acknowledgment came in the form of a nod, which was not recorded in the transcripts, but was caught on the video recording of the hearing. Two weeks later, that video was permanently removed from public record. At the time, it was becoming clear Yahoo and others had been directly involved in the monitoring, eventual abduction, and subsequent torture/murder of certain individuals across Europe. Some of the victims were likely Americans as well. There was a site called Fotopages that has a article about China Yahoo and the atrocities they have committed. Why aren't journalists uncovering these truths about Yahoo, Flickr, and the NSA? It takes whistleblowers. But those few that try to expose the truth are considered criminals, like me. Thanks America, you all stink.