Who Wants Your Facebook Data? The Government

Facebook has released a report revealing global government requests for information about the social network’s users in the first six months of 2013. Included in the report:

  • Which countries requested user information
  • The number of requests received from those countries
  • The number of user accounts specified in those request
  • The percentage of requests in which Facebook says they were required by law to disclose some data

The United States Government led the pack with information requested on an estimated 21,000 user accounts. The requests for information were granted 79% of the time. 

India was second with 4,144 users’ information requested and those requests were granted 50% of the time.  The United Kingdom was third with 2,337 requests and approximately 68% of those requests granted.

Italy came in fourth with data on 2,306 users requested and 53% of those requests granted followed by Germany with 2,068 and 37% of those requests granted. To read the complete list click here.

Facebook says the vast majority of these requests related to criminal cases and only sought basic subscriber information. However they said some requests did seek IP address or actual content.

Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel said in the report, “As we have made clear in recent weeks, we have stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests. We believe this process protects the data of the people who use our service, and requires governments to meet a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests.”

They also said the United States requests were an estimate as they are not permitted by law to disclose some requests. Facebook said in the report,  “We continue to push the United States government to allow more transparency regarding these requests, including specific numbers and types of national security-related requests. We will publish updated information for the United States as soon as we obtain legal authorization to do so.”

The company also says that it plans to keep publishing these reports regularly.

 ~ Cynthia


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