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U.S. Threatened Yahoo With $250,000-a-Day Fines Over User Data

Yahoo says the U.S. government threatened fines of up to $250,000 a day if the company didn't comply with a request to turn over user data in 2008.

How much did the U.S. government want Yahoo's user records? Enough to fine the company $250,000 every day it failed to hand them over in 2008, according to 1,500 pages of unsealed court documents. Yahoo user records were reportedly demanded for people located outside of the United States, including U.S. citizens, in 2007 as part of the National Security Agency's secret PRISM surveillance program. Yahoo challenged the order, but was forced by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to give up the records. On Thursday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISC-R) ordered that the documents surrounding Yahoo's challenge be unsealed.

"We consider this an important win for transparency, and hope that these records help promote informed discussion about the relationship between privacy, due process, and intelligence gathering," Ron Bell, Yahoo's general counsel, wrote Thursday on Tumblr.



— Keith Wagstaff