Australian government data requests to Yahoo drop in 2014

Australian government data requests to Yahoo drop in 2014

375 data requests received during first six months of 2014, down from 608 in second half of 2013

Australian government requests for data to Yahoo during the period January 1 to June 30, 2014 were 375, down from 608 requests in July 1 to December 31 last year, the company reported this week.

The Australian data came from Yahoo’s latest <i>Transparency Report</i>, which it publishes every six months. This is the third Transparency Report Yahoo has released.

The government data requests were generally made in connection with criminal investigations and may include content like emails, Yahoo address book entries, posts on Yahoo Answers or images from Yahoo’s photo sharing site, Flickr.

Some 150 of the Australian government data requests were rejected by Yahoo. In 12 cases, Yahoo user data such as emails were disclosed to the Australian government agencies. Non-content data (NCD) such as an alternate e-mail address, name, location, and IP address or billing information was disclosed in 176 cases.

“Each government data request was processed in a manner consistent with law and the applicable terms of service and privacy policy,” said Yahoo.

For the period July 1 to December 31, 204 Australian government data requests were rejected. NCD information was disclosed in 300 cases while Yahoo user data was disclosed in 26 cases.

From January 1 to June 30, 2013 there were 704 data requests from the Australian government to Yahoo.

Yahoo received a total of 18,000 requests for user data from governments worldwide during the first six months of 2014. The highest number of data requests came from the United States at around 6,700.

During the second half of 2013, Yahoo received 21,000 user-data requests from governments worldwide.

While Australian government data requests to Yahoo may have dropped, requests from agencies to Apple are on the rise.

In the period 1 January to 30 June, requests from Australian law enforcement agencies for data from iCloud and iTunes accounts more than doubled compared to the preceding six month period, Apple revealed on 19 September.

The vendor received 93 'law enforcement account requests' from Australian authorities, covering 111 accounts.

It disclosed no data in response to 80 requests from government agencies. In the remaining 13 cases Apple disclosed so-called metadata or non-content data.

On September 16, Google reported that Australian law enforcement requests for data about users of Google’s services dipped in the six months ending June 2014 compared to six months earlier.

Between January and June 2014, Google received 752 requests from Australian law enforcement agencies, the transparency report reveals. Those requests covered 844 users or accounts.

Google provided law enforcement organisations with data in two-thirds of the cases.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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