Yahoo report shows it rejected government censorship requests

Yahoo denied requests by law enforcement agencies in India, Ireland and the United Kingdom to remove content earlier this year, but agreed to remove a single Flickr image that glorified terrorism, according to the Sunnyvale company’s transparency report published Thursday.

The company also said it received more than 15,000 government data requests from around the world during the first six months of the year through search warrants, court orders and subpoenas from law enforcement and civil investigative agencies. The requests were for emails, photos or other data from nearly 26,000 Yahoo accounts. It disclosed content in 1,568 cases, and non-content data for 7,817 cases, and fully rejected about 5,000.

Yahoo said it received only a handful of government takedown requests to censor content. One Indian law enforcement agency asked Yahoo to removed an allegedly defamatory comment posted to a Yahoo Group, but the company rejected that request. A law enforcement agency in the United Kingdom asked Yahoo to remove nine Flickr photos that allegedly promoted terrorism, but Yahoo removed only one because the others appeared to expose and condemn violent extremism.

“We took down some of the content they flagged for us, but not all of it. Context was key for us,” said Chris Madsen, a senior legal director who handle slaw enforcement requests, in an interview this week.

The countries where agencies sought the most information — mostly in criminal cases — were the United States and United Kingdom. Taiwan, where Yahoo has a large market penetration, and Germany, also were responsible for a large number of requests.

When governments overreach, “we have pushed back and we’ll continue to do that,” said Aaron Altschuler, an associate general counsel at Yahoo for global law enforcement and security.

Above: Yahoo corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)




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  • Gary

    As a dedicated Yahoo user, for mail, sports,news, I am very happy to read Yahoo does resist government censorship. I very much hope this continues.

  • Patriot

    Yahoo is an example to follow

  • tyrannyofevilmen

    Nice propaganda piece but Yahoo is a left-wing virtual rag. Since they are so left-wing, that likely holds down the number of official requests they might actually receive from the Obama administration. I mean, they’re not really necessary.

  • hoapres

    Ya Who ???
    You mean these idiots are still in business ???