Yahoo received the most data requests from the US National Security Agency (NSA) ahead of Google, Microsoft and Facebook, according to new data released this week.
The Guardian reports that 59,000 users had their data intercepted by internet firms in the period leading up to the first revelations made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
These are the first such statistics released under legal agreements with the US Department of Justice over transparency of the secret court orders under which such information is released to the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Yahoo, Microsoft and Google all took legal action that facilitated their ability to release this data.
Yahoo was the most affected service with between 30,000 and 31,000 requests. This might have been connected to the fact that until recently it did not employ encryption on its email servers, making it even easier for agents to do their work.
Microsoft was second, though significantly lower, at between 15,000 and 16,000 requests. Google was third at betwen 9,000 and 10,000 requests.
Facebook was fourth with 5,000 to 6,000 requests and Linkedin brought up the rear with zero to 249 requests.
Yahoo said the types of content that might be requested included words in an email or instant message, photos posted online via its Flickr website, Yahoo Address book entries, and appointments entered into its Calendar product.
The firm has also published a transparency report for its Tumblr blogging platform that states the unit had never received a Fisa order or NSL.
The latest figures build on an updated report published by Apple last week.
It is now known that the number of US national security orders for content made between 1 January and 30 June 2013 was as follows:
• Yahoo – between 30,000 and 30,999 accounts
• Microsoft – between 15,000 and 15,999 accounts
• Google – between 9,000 and 9,999 accounts
• Facebook – between 5,000 and 5,999 accounts
• Apple – between 0 and 249 accounts
• LinkedIn – between 0 and 249 accounts
The number of accounts does not necessarily equate to the number of users since one person might own several.
The tallies also include requests for accounts that proved to be non-existent.