Australian government's data requests less successful than most, Yahoo figures show

Yahoo has proven to be protective of Australian users' content, disclosing content in just 2.2 percent of requests made by government authorities during the first half of this year.

Australian authorities lodged 315 requests for user information, concerning 340 different accounts – but Yahoo provided user content such as Mail, Messenger, Address Book uploaded files and Flickr photos in just 7 of them, according to the company's latest transparency report.

A breakdown of Yahoo's operations in Australia showed that the online service provider knocked back 85 government requests for data (27 percent of the total), while in 41 cases (13 percent) the requested data could not be found.

In another 182 cases (58 percent) Yahoo did provide non-content data (NCD) such as users' name, address, location, IP address, login details, and other information.

The disclosure follows a growing trend by tech giants to share information about their relationships with government authorities. A 2013 Twitter transparency report showed Australia Twitter users were the world's third most-investigated, while a 2014 Google transparency report showed Australian authorities were proving quite successful in getting user information by world standards.

Telstra published its first half-year transparency report in early 2014 and its first full-year figures last September, while Amazon only recently published its first transparency report, joining the ranks in June.

“While we can’t control the number of requests, we demand that government data requests be made through lawful means and for lawful purposes,” Yahoo's latest transparency report notes.

“We carefully scrutinize each request to make sure that it complies with the law, and we push back on those requests that don’t satisfy our rigorous standards. When we are compelled to disclose data, consistent with our Global Principles for Responding to Government Requests, we disclose only as much data as is necessary to comply with the request.”

Yahoo received 15,583 requests from government authorities worldwide during the first half of this year, up from 12,444 requests received from the US government alone during the same period in 2013.

This year, by comparison, Yahoo's US arm provided content to US authorities in 1258 cases out of 5221 requests (24 percent of requests) and NCD in 3174 cases (61 percent). Law-enforcement requests were rejected in just 304 cases (6 percent of the total).

New Zealand authorities were far less interested in Yahoo user data, lodging just 8 requests for information – 3 (38 percent) of which produced non-content data, and just one of which (13 percent) saw the disclosure of NCD. Neither New Zealand nor Australian authorities lodged any requests for content to be removed from its site during the half-year.

Blast from the past?

Try our new Space Invaders inspired video game NOW.

What score can you get ?

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags datanon-content data (NCD)Address Bookmessengergovernment authoritiesMailFlickr photosAustralian GovernmentTelstraYahoo

More about GoogleMessengerNCDTwitterYahoo

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

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