The secret surveillance programmes of US authorities
have been explored a lot in recent months and years. But now we know just how much pressure
the Government has been putting on companies to hand over personal data.
According to documents unsealed earlier this week, the US government actually threatened
to fine Yahoo in 2008, if they didn’t hand over customer data to intelligence agencies.
Basically the US government changed a law forcing tech giants to give users online information
to them. If Yahoo didn’t comply, it would’ve set them back £250,000.
And if Yahoo didn’t pay the massive fine of 250K for every day it didn’t hand over
the information, the fines would then be DOUBLED the following week.
Yahoo did lose the overall battle but this was exposed with the help of Edward Snowden
last year. But this was going on way before Snowden’s time. Marc Rotenberg, who’s
the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre said,
“It tells us how very serious the Bush administration was about trying to get the Internet firms
to turn over this data.” Other internet Goliaths like Facebook, Microsoft
and Google have been publishing the details of any secret government requests they receive
for data now to prove their detachment of any such requests. They’re doing so because
they don’t want people like you and me to not use their site.
Yahoo said they are going to make public a fifteen hundred page document that was classified
showing their battle with the US government. Yahoo’s general counsel said this was an
important win for transparency. The body that rules and grants surveillance
warrants by the NSA and the FBI is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They have
never held a public meeting and its members are handpicked by the U.S. Supreme Court chief
justice and his department are the only people who are allowed to hear from them.
Hmmmmmmm, what else is going on that they’re not telling us about? Don’t forget to get
subbed. Thanks for watching.