Prism scandal latest: Yahoo reveals 12,000 requests for users' data from US government, following lead of Apple, Facebook and Microsoft

Figures show that law enforcement made over 12,000 requests between December 2012 and May 2013

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The Independent Online

Yahoo has become the latest company to publish details of the requests made by the US government for the data of its users.

Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have all disclosed the number of requests they received in an effort to dispel some of the public distrust in the wake of the PRISM revelations.

In a blogpost titled ‘Our Commitment to Our Users’ Privacy’ from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the company’s General Counsel, Ron Bell, the tech company released the data for a the period between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013.

During this time Yahoo received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests, “inclusive of criminal, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other requests.”

The blog stated that “the most common of these requests concerned fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations.”

Mayer and Bell stressed that although Yahoo is unable to disclose the number “of FISA request numbers at this time because those numbers are classified” they “strongly urge the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue.”

The company also promised to issue its first “global law enforcement transparency report” later in the year, and that the data will be updated with new numbers twice a year.

The numbers released by Yahoo allow for a direct comparison with Apple – who said they had received between 4,000 and 5,000 data requests from US authorities and that these requests affected between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts and devices.

Facebook reported received over 10,000 requests during the last six months of 2012 whilst Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000.

It had also been revealed last week that Yahoo had made efforts to overturn a secret court order that required it to divulge users’ data to intelligence agencies.

Yahoo believed the orders violated the Fourth Amendment but the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) called the company’s fear’s “overblown.”

Mayer and Bell ended their statement by reiterating their commitment to users’ privacy, stating that “We appreciate – and do not take for granted – the trust you place in us.”