The Washington Post has 1,500 pages of new revelations about how the U.S. government forced Yahoo to hand over data to its huge spying database in 2008. Unsealed for the first time (in 2009 a highly redacted version was released), the documents outline Yahoo's battle with the National Security Agency (NSA) over the PRISM program that Edward Snowden leaked last year. Under PRISM, pretty much everything you do on the innerwebs is fair game for collection.
The feds threatened Yahoo with a $250,000-per-day fine, WaPo reports. And once the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—that's the secret panel of judges that oversees the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency's activities, without input from any surveillees' lawyers—deemed the NSA's request legal, the agency used it to persuade all the other big internet companies to comply with the requests as well. Most of this ground has been plowed already, albeit in less detail. But it is worth noting, perhaps, that in this case, at least, the internet giants were not villains. WaPo:
"Yahoo, which endured heavy criticism after The Washington Post and Britain's Guardian newspaper used Snowden's documents to reveal the existence of PRISM last year, was legally bound from revealing its efforts in attempting to resist government pressure. The New York Times first reported Yahoo's role in the case in June 2013, a week after the initial PRISM revelations." (Edward Ericson Jr.)