Sunday, October 29, 2006

Yahoo! on NSA Surveillance: No Comment

By Declan McCullagh, CNET
Published on ZDNet News: February 15, 2006, 1:55 PM PT

Under cross-examination during a congressional hearing, Yahoo's top lawyer refused on Wednesday to say whether the company opens its records for government surveillance without a court order.

Michael Callahan, Yahoo's senior vice president and general counsel, declined five times to answer that question from Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat who was probing whether the Internet company had cooperated with the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance efforts.

"It wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment," said Callahan, who was testifying under oath. He added that Yahoo would "only turn over information if it's required by law."

But Callahan refused to say whether a demand from the NSA--not backed by a court order--qualifies as required by law.

No law or regulation prohibits Yahoo from answering the question. In a survey published last week by CNET, companies as varied as BellSouth, Comcast, EarthLink and T-Mobile answered in the negative. Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, has posed similar questions to those companies, and AT&T has been sued for allegedly turning information over to the NSA in violation of privacy laws.

Sherman, who represents the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, is a Harvard Law graduate who was known as a stickler for detail while a lawyer in private practice. He's been critical of the NSA surveillance program, and said last week that President Bush's recent claims about terrorists planning to attack a Los Angeles skyscraper were a political stunt.

Below is a transcript, edited for clarity, of Wednesday's exchange that took place during a House of Representatives hearing about China and the Internet:

Rep. Brad Sherman: Let's say you get a call from the NSA saying they want you to give them a copy of all my e-mails. Can I rely on your privacy policy that you're not going to give those e-mails to the NSA unless you get a court order?

Yahoo General Counsel Michael Callahan: We would only disclose information in compliance with law and our privacy policy.

Sherman: Does that include a court order or letter from the NSA?

Callahan: I wouldn't be able to comment.

Sherman: The attorney general says the executive branch, without any OK from either of the other two branches, has the right to read everything you have in your files about me. You might very well agree?

Callahan: It wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment.

Sherman: How can I be a Yahoo user?... If you tell me you'll decide later if a sheriff in some obscure county (that I've never visited can obtain access to my files based on a simple request?)

Callahan: We only turn over information if it's required by law.

Sherman: An investigation from some county that I've never been to?

Callahan: If we were served with proper legal process, we would have to give it.

Sherman: Sir, you're assuming the answer to the question and pretending that's an answer. I'm asking you, as the chief lawyer from Yahoo, is e-mail from some that a requirement that you would adhere to or would you fight it in court?

Callahan: That is not something we would provide.

Sherman: How about if it came from the NSA?

Callahan: I can't comment on that.



Ed - Kozel Director

Edward Kozel joined Yahoo!'s board of directors in October 2000. He has been CEO of Skyrider, Inc. since March 2006 and has been a managing member of Open Range Ventures, a venture capital firm, since January 2000. Between January 2004 and December 2004, Mr. Kozel was a managing director of Integrated Finance, Ltd., a private advisory services firm. Until 2002 he was a member of the Board of Directors of Cisco Systems, Inc., where he worked for 11 years in a variety of roles, including chief technology officer and senior vice president of business development. During his tenure at Cisco, he founded the business development group which, under his direction, was responsible for more than 22 technology acquisitions and 25 minority investments. Mr. Kozel is an industry innovator who previously worked at Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and SRI International, where he participated in the early design and development of the Internetwork Protocol (IP) model and TCP/IP, packet radio networks and highly distributed information systems. In addition to Yahoo!, Mr. Kozel serves on the boards of Reuters Group PLC, Red Hat , Inc. and Network Appliance, Inc. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in electrical engineering.

Of the companies shown in bold type, above, the first is obvious in its ability to provide motive for the rampant censorship and disruption experienced by anti-war activists online at Yahoo! as well as that experienced by 9/11 researchers. The second, McDonnel Douglas, is just a harmless defense contractor, a perennial player on the global military-industrial stage. The third, just got the nod, along with Booz, Allen, & Hamilton to assist in in the unholy rebirth of TIA - Total Information Awareness. Check out the links above for more on this. Here's more:

Also on Yahoo Board (I have added snips from their profiles and a little on reputations of former outfits that they were attached to):

Terry Semel - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer [24 Years with Warner Bros. - huge media conglomerate]

Lloyd Braun - Head of Yahoo! Media Group [former Disney executive - strong ties to NSA]

Toby R. Coppel
Senior Vice President - Corporate Development [began his career with Goldman Sachs - strong evidence of insider trading on 9/11]

Lars Rabbe
Senior Vice President - Chief Information Officer [formerly of Lucent Technologies, developers of RFID]

Dr. Usama Fayyad
Chief Data Officer and Senior Vice President [formerly of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory - self explanatory]

Also see:

Watching What You Say

Google in Bed with U.S. Intelligence

Yahoo Stifles Dissent in China


At October 29, 2006 3:46 PM, Blogger Peta-de-Aztlan said...

No shocker here. It all gets seen with crystal clarity once we admit the scientific fact that a mature authoritarinn fascism is already here inside the United States. I am surprised daily the Internet is still up as it is... just for today.


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