Governments around the world issued around 25,000 requests for information about Facebook users in the first half of this year. Facebook has published its first report on the matter; Washington fielded the most requests.
Released on Tuesday, the report showed 71 countries had made more than 25,000 data requests affecting around 38,000 people. Facebook received between 11,000 and 12,000 requests from the US, with India (3245), the United Kingdom (1975) and Germany (1886) others to feature prominently.
The reasoning offered to justify the requests included “both criminal and national security,” Facebook said via a statement. The report said at least some data was released in 79 percent of US data requests and around 60 percent overall.
“We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests,” the site’s general counsel Colin Stretch said in a blog post. “When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name.”
Stretch continued by stating “transparency and trust are core values at Facebook,” but the website is still prohibited by law from disclosing specific information about the requests it had received from the US government.
It is the latest technology firm to release such a report, following in the footsteps of Google, Microsoft and Twitter.
This comes after the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal that broke in June, in which documents provided by the US intelligence agency’s former system administrator Edward Snowden were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post.
The documents detailed surveillance and data collection by the NSA around the world via complex programs and initiatives. The NSA is the foreign intelligence service for the US.
Germany was the European Union’s most-targeted nation, with German security agencies accused of sending intercepted data to the NSA.
ph/msh (AFP, AP)