Yahoo urges US to clarify user data rules

Internet firm Yahoo has called on the US government to clarify the rules around providing it with users’ data.

The call comes after the firm was accused of secretly scanning millions of its users’ email accounts on behalf of the US government.

The government should explain to the public the “national security orders they issue to internet companies to obtain user data,” it said.

Yahoo said press reports about the firm’s “mail scanning” were misleading.

“As we’ve said before, recent press reports have been misleading; the mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.

“We therefore trust that the US government recognises the importance of clarifying the record in this case.

“On behalf of Yahoo and our global community of users, we request that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence expeditiously clarify this matter,” the firm said.

Yahoo said it had made its request in a letter to the Director of National Intellig

The firm said while its letter to Mr Clapper made specific reference to the recent allegations against Yahoo: “It is intended to set a stronger precedent of transparency for our users and all citizens who could be affected by government requests for user data.”

Other internet firms including Google, Twitter and Facebook said this month they had not been asked to carry out email scanning by the US government, while Microsoft said it had “never engaged” in such an activity.

US law allows the country’s intelligence agencies to order the release of customer data that they believe could prevent a terrorist attack, among other reasons.

Companies can challenge such orders behind closed doors in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Earlier this month, Reuters news agency said the firm built special software last year to comply with a classified request.

At the time the firm told the BBC that: “Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States.”


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