December 6, 2009
Yahoo, the internet corporation notorious for helping China implement totalitarian censorship of the web, has instructed its lawyers to go after Cryptome, a site that functions as a repository for information about freedom of speech, cryptography, spying, and surveillance.
Michael T. Gershberg of the law firm Steptoe & Johnson sent a DMCA takedown notice to John Young, Cryptome webmaster, on December 3. The law firm claims that Cryptome has violated Yahoo’s intellectual property rights and copyright by posting Yahoo’s Compliance Guide for Law Enforcement. Young has refused to remove the document from his website. The takedown order is posted on the Cryptome website.
The 17 page guide describes Yahoo’s data retention policies and the surveillance capabilities it offers law enforcement. The guide reveals how Yahoo retains the IP addresses from users who login to its site for a year. Yahoo instant message logs are retained for 45 to 60 days and include an account holder’s friends list and the date and times the user communicated with them, according to Kim Zetter of Wired.
Yahoo charges the government about $30 to $40 for the contents, including e-mail, of a subscriber’s account, and charges $40 to $80 for the contents of a Yahoo group, according to a price list included in the leaked document.
“I cannot find at the Copyright Office a grant of copyright for the Yahoo spying document hosted on Cryptome,” Young responded defiantly to the takedown order.
To assure readers Yahoo’s copyright claim is valid and not another hoary bluff without substantiation so common under DMCA bombast please send a copy of the copyright grant for publication on Cryptome.
“Yahoo’s exclamation point is surely trademarked so omitted here,” he sarcastically concluded.
Yahoo’s law firm demanded the guide be removed by 12:00 pm Eastern time on December 3.
Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian had earlier asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, to provide him with a copy of the pricing list supplied by telecoms and internet service providers for the surveillance services they offer government agencies, according to Wired.
Verizon and Yahoo filed an objection to the FOIA request on the grounds the information was proprietary and that the companies would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.
Yahoo, Google, MSN and other large commercial web search engines routinely collect IP addresses along with search query analysis and use persistent cookies which do not expire for a long period of time. Cookies are small text files stored on a user’s computer and contain information such as user preferences, shopping cart contents, the identifier for a server-based session, or other data used by websites.
This article was posted: Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 4:43 am