Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) narrowly escaped paying a fine of $250,000 per day to the government for failure to release U.S. data relating to its customers, according to documents released Thursday. The company had refused to release any internet data citing that the move would be unconstitutional and would amount to a breach of privacy to the users.
However, in a groundbreaking ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) was allowed to provide redacted data that amount to 1500 pages. The pressure and the final conformity to the demand shows how American technology companies are threatened to provide the National Security Agency with information.
The released documents reveal how, in 2008, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) had been put on notice to either comply with the demands or face a fine that would double every week it failed to comply. The National Security Agency’s PRISM electronic surveillance program has been ongoing behind the public knowledge, demanding sensitive information from tech companies without informing users.
“Abuse and excess take place in secrecy too easily,”
said Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. “This is hopefully a major step in having greater transparency about the secret world of surveillance.”
In 2013, one of the former agency contractors, Edward Snowden, let the cat out of the bag, sending many users into confusion. It’s believed that such actions are some of the reasons that have forced most of the tech companies to tighten their data security by installing high level encryption programs to be safe from spies.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) isn’t the first company to be heard of as having been forced by government to release private user data. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have had their own moments where they are faced with demands to release sensitive and private user information to government security agencies.
The revelation will also give government security agencies more grounds to demand data from tech companies, something that has sent fears among internet users.
This article has been written by Victor Ochieng.