Yahoo concerned that release of redacted FISA papers may mislead

The company had earlier asked the court to release certain documents to show it resisted NSA data collection

Yahoo has asked that it be allowed to review declassified documents of a secret court about a dispute over data collection between the Internet company and the government, as the release of the redacted documents could mislead the public.

The company had asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in July to order the public release of a secret order in a 2008 surveillance dispute, as it would demonstrate that the Internet company "objected strenuously" to government directives.

Former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, disclosed through newspaper reports that Internet companies provided real-time access to content on their servers to the NSA under a surveillance program called Prism. The Internet companies denied the charge.

Most data requests are in the form of "gag orders," which prohibit the recipients of orders from discussing them in public.

Yahoo said in its filing that disclosure of the information of the 2008 dispute would show that it objected at every stage of the proceedings, but these objections were overruled and a stay denied.

The FISC court ruled in July that the government should do a "declassification review" of the court's memorandum of opinion in 2008 and legal briefs submitted by the parties, as it anticipates publishing its opinion in a redacted form.

In a filing made public on Tuesday, Yahoo has now asked the court for permission to review the government's submissions to "ensure that its redactions are well-founded and do not unintentionally create a risk that the documents will be misunderstood." Yahoo also want to review the documents to be able to object to any redactions that the court may also make.

Internet companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google are separately demanding that the court allow them to provide data to the public on the number of user data requests that they receive from the U.S. government under national security statutes such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in a bid to clear their names from Snowden's charges of bulk collection of data. The companies have been so far allowed to publish aggregate data of all U.S. law enforcement and national security requests.

The U.S. government has decided to release data annually on its secret spy orders and the number of people affected by them, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said in August, but the companies want to publish information on orders served to each one of them.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesregulationsecuritylegalForeign Intelligence Surveillance CourtgovernmentinternetprivacyInternet service providersYahoo

More about GoogleIDGMicrosoftNational Security AgencyNSAPrismYahoo

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John Ribeiro

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place