Court documents unsealed last week revealed how the government used fines and secrecy to force Yahoo into becoming one of the first Silicon Valley giants to cooperate with NSA’s PRISM program — documents that included a clause that would have taken the financial coercion into another galaxy.
The clause in question would have doubled the daily $250,000 fine of refusing to hand over customer data every week with no cap — a cost The Washington Post broke down into some terrifyingly hilarious examples. (RELATED: U.S. Government Threatened Yahoo With Massive Fines To Force NSA Compliance)
Refusing the 2008 request would have drained Yahoo’s total revenue that year of $7.2 billion in three months. Two more months later, the fines could have paid off the entire U.S. national debt, at the time of $9.5 trillion.
By the tenth month, Yahoo’s fine would equal the cost in steel of building George Lucas’ infamous plant-sized “Death Star” battle station, which — in this case — would have been capable of destroying an entire planet’s economic value in less than a year.
Eventually by the end of one year, the stack of $100 bills could travel to the sun and back 28,769 times, making for a total of $7.9 sextillion.