Yahoo! Discloses Government Data Requests

Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO  ) CEO Marissa Mayer and general counsel Ron Bell have joined several other Internet company representatives by announcing the number of requests for user data it received from U.S. law enforcement agencies, saying in a Tumblr post Monday that Yahoo! "received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests, inclusive of criminal, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other requests" for the Dec. 1, 2012, to May 31, 2013, time period.

According to the post, the majority of data requests Yahoo! received were related to investigations of fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and "other criminal investigations." As is the case with other companies in the industry that have recently released data transparency figures, Yahoo! says it cannot lawfully disclose figures specific to FISA data requests.

Responding to the FISA data disclosure limitations imposed by the U.S. government, Mayer and Bell said "we strongly urge the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue." Yahoo! intends to issue its first global "transparency report" later this summer covering the first half of 2013, and will update its report twice annually thereafter.

Apple recently said that between Dec. 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013, it had received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Meanwhile, for the six-month period ending Dec. 12, 2012, Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000 national or criminal security warrants, subpoenas, and orders, and Facebook reported that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 government security requests for data during the six-month period ending Dec. 31, 2012.

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