We've known since the start that Yahoo fought the NSA's Prism surveillance program tooth-and-nail; but as unsealed court docs show, the Feds made the process into a harrowing ordeal, and sweet-talked gullible judges into dropping the hammer on Y.
By the time Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act judges were ready to rule, they were convinced that the Feds were doing something lawful, and said that the US Government "assures us that it does not maintain a database of incidentally collected information from non-targeted United States persons, and there is no evidence to the contrary."
"The released documents underscore how we had to fight every step of the way to challenge the U.S. Government's surveillance efforts," Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell wrote in a post published after the unsealing. "At one point, the U.S. Government threatened the imposition of $250,000 in fines per day if we refused to comply."
The unsealing of FISA Court documents is extremely rare but, as Bell noted, it was
"an important win for transparency, and [we] hope that these records help promote informed discussion about the relationship between privacy, due process, and intelligence gathering."
Feds Threatened to Fine Yahoo $250K Daily for Not Complying With PRISM [Kim Zetter/Wired]