US government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day to force access to user data

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Mat Smith
September 12th, 2014
US government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day to force access to user data

Back in 2008, in the days of the BlackBerry Storm, netbooks and well, yes, Yahoo, the internet company was threatened with a hefty $250,000 per day fine from the US government. This was because it didn't want to comply with requests to hand over user communications. Yahoo believed that the request was unconstitutional, and while the company fought a legal battle to avoid handing over the data, it was an unsuccessful one. The court loss was apparently a key moment in the creation of the NSA's PRISM program, and meant that Yahoo was also one of the first to provide information, followed soon by the likes of Google, Apple and AOL. Yahoo faced a hostile public after the Snowden leaks revealed the NSA's monitoring of online activity and the collusion of several tech companies. "The released documents underscore how we had to fight every step of the way to challenge the U.S. Government's surveillance efforts," added Ron Bell, the company's general counsel -- in a Tumblr post, naturally.

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