YAHOO is handing over private and personal information about hundreds of its users to Australian government agents, a new transparency report has revealed.
In the first six months of 2013, Australian government agents made 704 requests for access to data relating to 799 Yahoo accounts or users.
The US-headquartered company granted full access in response to just 11 of those requests – handing over information such as the content of Yahoo emails, uploaded files and Yahoo address, calendar and notepad entries.
The firm also handed over so-called “non-content data” in response to 305 of the requests – giving government agents access to information such as the names, locations, IP addresses, login details and billing information belonging to Yahoo account holders.
Yahoo rejected 242 of the requests for data and found no data in 146 of the cases.
The figures were revealed in Yahoo’s first global transparency report released at the weekend, which outlined requests for data made by government agents in 17 countries.
US government agents made 12,444 requests for data relating to 40,322 Yahoo accounts or users in the first six months of 2013.
German agents made 4295 requests about 5306 accounts or users.
New Zealand agents made just nine requests about nine accounts or users.
Tech firms have been under increased pressure to disclose government data requests since June, when former US government contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM – a large program that saw nine companies turn over user data to the US National Security Agency.
Facebook published its first global governments request report in August, revealing that Australian government agents made 546 requests for access to information from 601 Facebook accounts.
The social networking giant granted 349 (64 per cent) of those requests – handing over information ranging from how long accounts had been in use, through to account content and internet protocol (IP) address logs.
Google’s latest transparency report showed that, in the second half of 2012, it received 584 requests for access to information about 711 Australian users or accounts.
It granted access to data in 65 per cent of those cases.
Many – but not all – of the data requests to Yahoo, Facebook and Google came from police forces.
Yahoo said in a blog accompanying its transparency report that it only gives data “in response to valid, compulsory legal process from a government agency with proper jurisdiction and authority.”
It added: “We carefully review government requests to determine the appropriate scope of data to be provided and interpret them narrowly in an effort to produce the least amount of data necessary to comply with the request.”
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) recently confirmed to AAP that it made requests for data from Facebook in the first half of 2013.
But it would not disclose precisely how many or the types of cases they involved.
“The AFP makes requests for information from a range of external agencies, including Facebook, to assist with all types of AFP operational activities including criminal investigations,” an AFP spokesperson said.
- Facebook gives user data to Aust govt (news.theage.com.au)
- Facebook gave government information on hundreds of Australian users (theguardian.com)