Sharing Our First Transparency Report

By Ron Bell, General Counsel, Yahoo

At Yahoo, we take the privacy of our users seriously. We also recognize our role as a global company in promoting freedom of expression wherever we do business. That’s why we’re issuing our first global law enforcement transparency report, which details governments requests for user data from January 1, 2013, through June 30, 2013.

Each country report shows how we processed the government data requests we received during this period. We include national security requests within the scope of our aggregate statistics. You will also see the number of accounts specified in these government data requests, which comprised less than one one-hundredth of one percent (<.01%) of our worldwide user base.

I want to highlight our approach to government data requests. Our legal department demands that government data requests be made through lawful means and for lawful purposes. We regularly push back against improper requests for user data, including fighting requests that are unclear, improper, overbroad or unlawful. In addition, we mounted a two-year legal challenge to the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and recently won a motion requiring the U.S. Government to consider further declassifying court documents from that case.

We will update our transparency report every six months to provide users with further understanding of the government requests that we receive.

Democracy demands accountability, and accountability requires transparency. We hope our report encourages governments around the world to more openly share information about the requests they make for users’ information.