Yahoo is talking about its fight against the federal government’s surveillance of Internet users — a battle it ultimately lost in secret court hearings in Washington. The company's general counsel announced today in a Tumblr post that 1,500 pages of previously sealed court documents from 2007-2008 have been released at its request, which Yahoo is going to post online for all to read.
"In 2007, the U.S. Government amended a key law to demand user information from online services. We refused to comply with what we viewed as unconstitutional and overbroad surveillance and challenged the U.S. Government’s authority," Yahoo’s general counsel Ron Bell wrote. "The released documents underscore how we had to fight every step of the way to challenge the U.S. Government’s surveillance efforts."
By not complying, the court said Yahoo was breaking the law. The federal government even threatened to fine the company $250,000 a day for refusing to comply, Bell wrote.
Of course, as we now know thanks to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, Yahoo did join the National Security Agency’s secret Internet surveillance program, Prism, along with seven other companies.
Though the court order in the 2008 case was previously released in a heavily redacted form, Yahoo says these new documents will contain expanded versions of both that opinion and the appeal plus more classified filings.
Yahoo plans to post the entire 1,500 pages and will update its Tumblr account with the links.