Yahoo will be allowed to prove that it fought against the National Security Agency’s Internet spying program, PRISM. A secret court ruled on Monday that the government should investigate how it can declassify the legal battle.
“The Government shall conduct a declassification review of this Court’s Memorandum Opinion of [Yahoo's case] and the legal briefs submitted by the parties to this Court,” reads the ruling, according to CNET. “After such review, the Court anticipates publishing that Memorandum Opinion in a form that redacts any properly classified information.”
Yahoo, Google and other Internet giants are fighting the federal government to disclose more aspects of the secret dragnet program, which they say have been exaggerated by the media. All participating companies must adhere to a strict gag order that forbids them from talking specifics about the alleged spying operation.
After it was first revealed that the government monitored emails, phone calls, and Internet browsing behavior of the top Internet firms, it was also revealed that Yahoo had a lost a fight to prohibit the government from monitoring its users.
Now, at the very least, Yahoo will get to prove it fought…and this is what seems so insane. The NSA’s program is so secretive that being allowed to talk about how an organization lost a court battle is now considered a victory. The court decision does nothing to inform users about how they’re being monitored, let alone puts us on the path to greater oversight over the NSA. While it’s a nice first step, and will hopefully snowball into more transparency, the public is no better off.
It will just let companies confirm that we have, in fact, lost the fight to protect users against a still largely unknown spying program. Yahoo!