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User Data requests from Government revealed by Facebook

In order to provide more transparency on the increasing number of government requests for user data, Facebook has released its first Global Government Requests Report  on Tuesday. The report reveals that global internet companies regularly hand over data of millions of users to their respective intelligence agencies. Facebook is the third company to reveal such information after Microsoft and Google.



“We want to make sure that the people who use our service understand the nature and extent of requests we receive and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them” said Colin Stretch, Facebook counsel general in a blog post. Based on the number of requests from those countries for user data, a report containing details and percentage was revealed by Facebook. As per the Law Facebook was allowed to reveal some data.

As the report states Facebook has responded to requests for user data of nearly 38,000 users in the first half of 2013. About half of these requests, 20000-21000 came from United States the company added. Accurate numbers have been provided by Facebook exposing how much times there have been requests for user data from countries except the U.S which bans revealing how much times the user data was requested to companies. U.S was leading in user data requests with between 11000 and 12000, followed by India (3245), the United Kingdom (1975), and Germany (1886). 79% of  U.S’s requests where granted, whereas 50% for India, 68% for UK and 37% for Germany, the report said.

A charity advocacy group Privacy International hauled Facebook’s move to promote more transparency. It stated that while Facebook’s report helps inform users about what information governments are seeking and how often it is the governments that need to be more transparent.

About John W Arthur

John is the head of our IT Security team and he writes about Security, IT news on The Next Digit. He was the Employee of the Year 2013 for his selfless support and efficiently setting up the whole security infrastructure. He also occasionally writes on "IT Sec Pro" Print Media of Sweden. All posts by John

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