Saturday, October 05, 2013

Privacy, Transparency and Yahoo

In the ongoing push and pull over consumer privacy, government security, and access to information, is at center stage.  On September 6, Yahoo released its first ever Transparency Report, covering requests for user data it had received from the governments of 17 countries, from January through June, 2013.  More about the document, which reports over 12,000 requests from the U.S. government, more than 11,000 of these resulting in data disclosure and over 4500 of them in content disclosure, is available in Yahoo's report overview and in coverage by ComputerWorld

Meanwhile, Yahoo has been involved in an ongoing lawsuit (with co-plaintiffs Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn) that challenges federal government restrictions on providing foreign surveillance-related data with greater specificity.  And just this week, Yahoo itself was hit with a class action suit over consumer privacy.  The California consumers' complaint in Kevranian et. al. v. Yahoo Inc. (case number 5:13-cv-04547 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of California) claims that Yahoo's practice of accessing and indexing users' email for profiling and targeted advertising violates both California's Invasion of Privacy Act and the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  The legal world and the public await further developments.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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