Yahoo has won a court order to make public its efforts to combat data collection in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
In reference to the ruling, the company issued this statement:
We’re very pleased with the decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ordering the government to conduct a declassification review of the Court’s Memorandum of Opinion of April 25, 2008, as well as the legal briefs submitted. Once those documents are made public, we believe they will contribute constructively to the ongoing public discussion around online privacy.
The government will review the briefs in question in order to redact any classifies information, but the win is significant for Yahoo nevertheless, as all FISA court proceedings are classified by default. It’s also somewhat of an “I told you so,” as the company has previously argued against the data collection, causing quite a bit of controversy.
When news of the NSA’s surveillance programs first leaked, Yahoo was named alongside other major tech companies as a participant in the PRISM program. Companies have since taken steps to distance themselves from government initiatives and clarify what kind of information is being shared.
On Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) awarded Yahoo a gold star, commending it for questioning the constitutionality of the laws behind PRISM and the NSA’s other programs.
I expect to see other companies make similar motions against government surveillance, or at least in favor of more transparency.