Yahoo’s top lawyers had a courtroom showdown with the National Security Agency after it had demanded information on certain foreign users without a warrant, but the tech giant lost and was forced to hand over the data, it was revealed today.
Court documents obtained by the New York Times show that the Internet company had initially refused to join the PRISM spying program, insisting that the broad national security requests seeking users’ personal information were unconstitutional.
However, the secret court operating under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) sided with the NSA and forced Yahoo’s hand.
Information about Yahoo’s legal battle against the NSA first emerged in a heavily redacted court order, but the name of the company involved had not been released until now.
It was claimed that besides Yahoo, a number of major Silicon Valley companies became part of PRISM, among them Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Skype, AOL and the lesser known Internet company PalTalk, which has hosted a lot of traffic during the Arab Spring and the on-going Syrian civil war.
However, only Facebook and Google have been shown to have worked toward creating ‘online rooms’ in which to share data with the government.
Information about the classified program was leaked last week by NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden, 29, who smuggled the files concerning PRISM on a thumb drive.