Yahoo Challenged PRISM in Court   

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 14 2013 5:02 PM

Yahoo Challenged PRISM in Court in 2008. It Lost.

148470920
The Yahoo logo is displayed in front of the Yahoo headqarters in Sunnyvale, California

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Early reports suggested Twitter was going to emerge as one of the few top Silicon Valley companies to refuse government requests for information under its PRISM program. Turns out, Yahoo tried to fight as well. But it lost, according to the latest scoop by the New York Times’ Claire Cain Miller. Yahoo’s lawyers tried to push back against a government request for information at a secret court in Washington in 2008. Yahoo insisted that the government’s broad request for data was unconstitutional. The judges disagreed, and ordered the company to hand over the data and effectively join the National Security Agency’s PRISM program.

The case provided tech companies an important lesson: It’s not very useful to fight government requests in court. Indeed, lawyers acknowledge they rarely ever present legal challenges to secret requests for information even though they insist that they regularly push back and negotiate privately. But since the national security requests don’t even allow companies to acknowledge they exist, “it is difficult to know exactly how, and how often, the companies cooperate or resist,” notes the Times.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.