US Government Allegedly Threatened To Fine Yahoo $250K Per Day For Not Turning Over User Data

The Edward Snowden revelations have faded a bit from public view in light of other, more recent political activities, but a new report regarding the NSA and Yahoo has people talking about it once more. Reportedly, the United States government threatened to fine Yahoo a quarter of a million dollars <i>per day</i> in 2008 "if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications." Yahoo's stance was that doing so would violate the U.S. constitution, but that didn't stop the feds from pressuring with such staggering fines to comply with its PRISM program.

Unsealed documents -- around 1,500 pages worth -- show that Yahoo actually went through great lengths to resist the demands, but eventually it caved and became one of the first Internet companies to start handing over information to PRISM. That program, of course, gave the NSA access to records of online communications without notifying users.

The documents prove that the government was dead serious about mining this data, and it essentially refused to take "no" for an answer. It wasn't until Snowden came to light that things began to change, and the NSA's stance was put under scrutiny. Even now, it's tough to say how much the NSA is collecting. While findings such as these will no doubt help things, it probably won't extinguish the fire entirely.