Yahoo wins motion to declassify documents following NSA PRISM debacle

Yahoo wins motion to declassify documents following NSA PRISM debacle

Summary: On earnings eve, Yahoo is working to clean up its image as far as the PRISM scandal goes.


Yahoo has won a minor battle in its effort to clear up its name, following the news about its involvement in the NSA debacle.

To recall, the search company was one of the nine Silicon Valley giants listed as sources for data mining by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

There has been a flurry of accusations, denials, and more tossed between these companies and the federal agencies.

Many of them (notably Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft) have publicly denounced the PRISM program revealed through PowerPoint slides leaked to The Guardian and The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is now on the run.

These companies have also denied any direct involvement, or "back door" to user data — a catchphrase that has been debated by both sides of the fence, as well as within the media.

Yahoo took things a step further, petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C., to declassify documents from a specific classified case in 2008.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Yahoo argued those files would reveal that the technology company "objected strenuously" to federal demands for consumer data, thus demonstrating its interest in defending user privacy above all else.

We should find out soon enough how accurate that picture is, given that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court returned with a directive in Yahoo's favor on Monday.

Basically, the U.S. government has until the end of the month to report back on when it will be able to complete its review of the documents in order to declassify them, as well as redact any portions that might be deemed too sensitive still for public knowledge.

To read the entire order, scroll through the document below.

RE: Directive pursuant to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

Topics: Government US, Legal, Privacy, Security, Tech Industry

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  • Yahoo wins motion

    It will probably be all black pages. They will redact so much you won't know what they have gleaned.
    • Apparently

      You didn't peruse the document above but simply read the headline and then skipped down to the comment section.
    • redacted

      hmmm?? gleaned or cleaned? black pages or blank pages? oh well it will still be sterile so that the general population will be protected! cough, cough..pardon me..
  • Nice small victory, but doesn't prove much.

    Yahoo wants us to know about one specific case 5 years ago to convince us that they are "defending user privacy above all else." Seriously? Five years ago? To me, this just says they must be taking a different approach now than they were 5 years ago. These days, I can easily imagine them chanting, "resistance is futile" as they hand the keys to their kingdom to our police state government.
    • The point

      The point is that it's THEIR own documents they want declassified. The ones they filed opposing this whole business in the first place. You know, the documents that the government said "duly noted, now do what we order you to do... and BTW, this is all classified so even though you don't like it, you can't tell anyone we're doing it. And if it ever gets out, you'll all just have to deal with the fallout... too bad, so sad."
  • NSA's "tracking" is trivial compared to commercial activities

    Those of you concerned about “Big Brother” tracking your Google searches and the sites you go to. . . watch the url that flashes as Google takes you to a page. It’s a Google address. They record not only what you searched for, but where you went. And more, with that bit of Google code you installed in your browser, it continues to track you. All the time.

    You know how gmail spam and virus filtering works, yes? By reading all your incoming mail. Do you really think that’s free, that Google gets nothing out of it?

    NSA tracks to avert catastrophes. That’s all they are worried about; to them, the rest is trash.

    To Google, it’s pure gold. You think they make their incredible profits from a few ad clicks? Just how often have you clicked one? I never have, and I do a dozen Google searches a day.

    All Internet services watch you. Store systems track your purchases through your credit card. Social networking sites, where you bare your soul, are beyond gold. They’re platinum.

    All that data are pooled, organized, analyzed, interpreted, indexed – and sold, to anyone with the cash. That dossier is – you. Every detail of your existence. .

    You have no privacy left. You gave it all away, voluntarily – for convenience, for pleasure, for profit.

    NSA looks at phone number call patterns to find threats to the nation. That’s nothing compared to what you are revealing, knowingly, so you can tell Marcy what you had for breakfast or find that cool app for your iPad.
    • NSA vs Google. BIG difference!

      Google is a business, and while I do not condone how they're spying on my data and violating my privacy, and using my data to enrich themselves, I wouldn't categorize them at the same level of evil as what the NSA and Government can to to me or others.

      Spying on the citizens, with no just cause, is unconstitutional, and unwarranted. Government can be a threat to my freedoms and rights, while Google can do me no harm, other than collect my data without my permission.

      Governments can be or become oppressive, and Google can only be evil without taking away my rights and freedoms.
  • NSA tracks everything

    It's not like we didn't think they weren't watching our emails already, right? But what about our Sexts?!