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US to Yahoo: Hand Over Data or Pay $250K a Day

Court documents show government pressure in 2008
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2014 4:12 PM CDT
US to Yahoo: Hand Over Data or Pay $250K a Day
Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Just how badly did the federal government want data about Yahoo users for its now-notorious PRISM surveillance program? It threatened to fine the company $250,000 a day in 2008 if it didn't comply, reports the Washington Post. The revelation comes from newly declassified court documents detailing the company's fight with the National Security Agency to keep the "metadata" out of the government's hands. Yahoo eventually lost its case in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and the NSA soon got other tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, and Google to comply as well.

“The released documents underscore how we had to fight every step of the way to challenge the U.S. Government’s surveillance efforts,” says Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell in a Tumblr blog post. The company viewed the government's request as unconstitutional, but the super-secret intelligence court disagreed. PRISM, first revealed by Edward Snowden, was reportedly discontinued in 2011. (Read more Yahoo stories.)

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