Facebook’s user data government requests up by 24% since 2013
Government requests for Facebook’s user data went up 24 per cent from the last half of 2013 to the first half of 2014, according to the social networking site’s latest Global Government Requests report released today. Nearly half of those requests came from the United States.
From January to June this year, the company received 34,946 requests for data from governments across the globe.
The report shows many of the requests were parts of search warrants or subpoenas and that facebook turned over data in nearly 80 per cent of the cases.
The specific number of requests from spy agencies is not allowed to be released due to government restrictions and Facebook is forced to combine the figure with other law enforcement requests, like kidnapping and robberies.
Facebook said it is required by law to wait six months before disclosing government requests on user data.
Meanwhile, there was a 19 per cent increase in requests to Facebook to censor content due to local laws on objectionable content. Most of these requests came from India, Pakistan and Turkey.
In yesterday’s report, Facebook details how it’s still fighting what it calls an overly broad “search warrant” for data about suspects in a disability fraud case. Of the 381 people the government requested data on, only 62 were later charged, giving merit to Facebook’s argument that law enforcement overstepped its bounds by asking for data on so many people.
Facebook’s deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby commented: “We scrutinize every government request we receive for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests.”
As the social network site thrives on user faith and trust in the company, it has vowed to work toward more transparency around surveillance requests through the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS) coalition. It also hopes government will pass the USA Freedom Act, which would limit bulk surveillance requests that it is currently liable for.