Yahoo in legal spat over sensitive document

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Yahoo in legal spat over sensitive document

Web firm embarrassed by disclosures.

Yahoo is in a legal dispute with web site Cryptome after discovering that private information regarding services provided by Yahoo to law enforcement bodies is being made publically available online.

Represented by US law firm Steptoe & Johnson, Yahoo has written to Cryptome arguing that it has breached copyright laws by hosting the documents.

"We ask that Cryptome immediately remove all such infringing material on its web site. We are sure you appreciate the importance of this matter, as disclosure of this information will assist criminals to structure their communications to evade apprehension," said the letter issued by lawyer Mike Gershberg.

Cryptome, however, has not yet taken the document down, saying that it cannot find a grant of copyright at the US Copyright Office.

The company claims to promote online freedom by publishing documents that big businesses do not intend the public to see.

The PDF document hosted on the site includes the range of services offered by Yahoo's legal compliance team to legal bodies, and the costs associated with providing the information.

Yahoo will hand over information such as the IP address associated with a user login, emails including the IP addresses used to send them from, friends lists in Yahoo Messenger, and the contents of files stored with Yahoo. Costs range from US$20 ($21.81) for an individual's basic subscriber records, to US$80 for groups.

Yahoo would not provide further comment on the legal battle.

However, while Yahoo is fighting to hide some documents from the public, the company has announced plans to give consumers more transparency in the area of online advertising in an effort to build more trust.

Today the company released a privacy tool beta called the Ad Interest Manager where Yahoo users can see a summary of their online activity, and the information used to deliver interest-based advertising.

The tool can be turned off for users who do not want to see interest-based ads.

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