Cryptome has posted a number of compliance guides for law enforcement agents seeking customer or subscriber information from Cox, Cricket, GTE, and Yahoo!, and other providers. While some of the files may be outdated by now, the Yahoo! guide is from December 2008, and Yahoo is trying to get it removed from Cryptome’s site.
Yesterday, Yahoo!’s lawyers sent a DMCA take down notice to Cryptome setting noon today as the time by which the file must be removed. As of the time of this posting, which is after their “high noon” deadline, the file is still available on the site.
Although I don’t spot any “smoking guns” in Yahoo!’s guide, it does reveal exactly what kinds of information Yahoo! retains and can make available to law enforcement and what they charge for particular services. As noted yesterday, Chris Soghoian had attempted to obtain some of the pricing information under freedom of information requests and Yahoo! had strongly objected, citing not only trade secrets arguments but the notion that Chris would use the information to “shame” them or attempt to shame them.
In any event, it seems that this particular kitty’s out of the bag now, as Cryptome is not the only site hosting the compliance guide and it’s probably been downloaded by numerous people by now as links to the sites have been posted around the web and on mail lists.
While it may be small consolation to Yahoo!, compared to other guides from other providers, theirs is pretty clearly written and designed to be actually helpful to law enforcement in terms of describing exactly what kinds of data they have available and for how long, etc. As to their prices, well, if you need information from a provider because that provider has information on an individual, does a competitor’s pricing really even come into play?