Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It’s an attempt to require more accountability in connection with its digital spying programs. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) both filed suits in the same court for the same right earlier this year.
Yahoo follows up on transparency report
Ron Bell, General Counsel for the company, announced the lawsuit in a blog post on Tumblr. According to the post, the complaint demands the right to disclose publicly the number of requests the company receives from U.S. officials under national security statutes. It comes on the heels of the company’s first transparency report release, which was last week.
The company also said it took “a series of legal actions” in the same court in an attempt to push U.S. officials to release more information to the general public. According to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), last week’s transparency report includes information about all types of data requests from various government agencies, including those from criminal law enforcement and those from national security authorities.
Why Yahoo filed suit
Bell’s post reports that they filed the suit because they are not authorized to break out the number of requests they receive for user data under specific national security statutes. Some examples of these statues include the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the National Security Letters. Currently the U.S. government does not allow companies like Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) to disclose this information.
However, Bell said they believe that the U.S. government’s responsibility to keep citizens safe can be done without preventing Internet companies from sharing the number of national security requests they receive. He said they also believe that withholding this information “breeds mistrust and suspicion—both of the United States and of companies that must comply with government legal directives.”
Yahoo to participate in review group
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) said today it would participate in President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology. The company said this would give it the opportunity to more directly connect on transparency and other “issues at the intersection of national security and technology.”