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Yahoo Says U.S. Government Requests Most Data

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Yahoo! Inc. said it received 12,444 requests for user data from the U.S. government in the first half of this year, more than any other country for which it shares information about data collection.

The Web portal provided some data to U.S. agencies in 92 percent of those cases, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said today in its first global transparency report. The next highest number of requests came from Germany, with 4,295; Italy, with 2,637; and Taiwan, with 1,942.

Yahoo’s efforts to disclose more data about its dealings with governments follows other large technology companies including Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which release similar reports. The data requests Yahoo receives only affect a tiny portion of its users and must be made through lawful means, Ron Bell, general counsel, wrote in a blog post.

“We regularly push back against improper requests for user data, including fighting requests that are unclear, improper, overbroad or unlawful,” Bell wrote.

The company recently won a motion requiring the U.S. government to declassify court documents relating to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, he said. Yahoo didn’t say which U.S. government agencies requested the data.

Technology companies have pressed the U.S. government for more leeway to report aggregate numbers of data requests, following reports earlier this year that the U.S. National Security Agency is collecting millions of residents’ telephone records, and the computer communications of foreigners from Web businesses under court order.

Yahoo shares rose less than 1 percent to $28.30 at 3:02 p.m. in New York. The stock has gained 42 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 17 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at

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