Unredacted Court Docs Reveal Yahoo’s Name and Other Top-Secret Stuff

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalegesellschaft/9074745005/in/photolist-ePUrwM-eQ6HpJ-eXTTrx-ePUj64-eQ6Wvu-ePUBNe-ePUh1D-eQ6o3y-eQ6PzC-ePUs66-ePUeW4-ePUAJn-eQ6zaf-eQ6v3S-eQ74rb-eQ6DTA-ePUfwP-ePUBe8-ePU1xV-eQ6zLh-eQ6fbs-ePU8uv-ePUbKF-ePTUxT-ePUkBa-ePUdot-ePUAfV-eQ6NMf-eQ6vGY-ePUqaB-ePTWQX-eQ6ZZS-eQ6T97-ePUz4H-eQ6MbW-ePUtQv-ePUraH-ePUfUk-ePUxga-ePUcmD-ePUcXv-eQ6DiW-ePTRHi-ePUxXB-eQ6pLU-ePUvxc-ePUoEK-eQ6fRY-eQ6UWY-eQ6Ram">Digitale Gesselschaft</a>/Flickr

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Yahoo has just released 1,500 pages of previously classified documents relating to its legal challenge to the government’s warrantless wiretapping program. Yahoo lost the case in 2008 and was ordered to cooperate with National Security Agency or face a $250,000 fine for every day that it withheld its customers’ data. The ruling in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was released to the public only in heavily redacted form, became a legal precedent for the warrantless wiretapping program that was later revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Today, based on a successful appeal by Yahoo, a slightly less redacted version of that court ruling finally became public.

Below, I’ve posted the more lightly redacted version released today as well as the redacted version of the ruling released in 2008. A side-by-side reading of the two documents may offer some insight into how the government has sought to cover up the true nature of its surveillance activities, or it might just be an example of how little has changed.

The new version of the ruling is notable for what it doesn’t disclose: Key evidence presented by the government. A block of text that had previously been removed from the ruling still does not fully explain why warrantless searches are necessary to thwart terrorists:

Scanning the 1,500 pages of newly unsealed documents will take a while. Here are few examples of new information contained in the partially unredacted ruling:

  • The name of the plaintiff (Yahoo) and its law firm
  • A footnote defining the term “surveillance” to mean “acquisitions of foreign intelligence information.” But part of the definition of the term still remains redacted.
  • The date when the government moved to force Yahoo to comply with the order (November 21, 2007)
  • A mention of “linking procedures” (defined as “procedures that link [redacted] targets.”) as a one of the safeguards against unreasonable searches

You can help us out by pointing out any other interesting tidbits in the comments; we’ll note additional highlights here if we find anything worth noting.

The slightly less redacted ruling released today:

 

 

 

The original redacted court ruling:

 

 

 

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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