Facebook reveals requests by world governments for user data

Aug. 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM
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MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Facebook has issued a report revealing it fielded requests from 74 countries for data on at least 38,000 users in the first half of 2013.

The report released Tuesday provided details on the scale and scope of data requests Facebook received from governments around the world, requests made both for security investigations and criminal cases, The Washington Post reported.

The United States made the most requests, the report said, asking for access to more than 20,000 accounts; Facebook said it supplied the requested data in around 79 percent of cases.

Britain made the second-most requests for data from Facebook, 1,975 requests from 2,337 user accounts, while France, Germany, India and Italy also made more than 1,000 requests during the first half of 2013, Facebook's report said.

Facebook said on its Web site it plans to release such reports regularly; in so doing it will join a number of technology firms, including Google and Twitter, which have been issuing regular reports on data access requests in past years.

Washington-based non-profit The Center for Democracy and Technology hailed the Facebook report but called on the Obama administration to allow technology firms to be even more specific about the number and scope of requests issued by the U.S. government.

"[We] hope that the Obama administration and Congress will work together to ensure that companies like Facebook can soon engage in meaningful transparency reporting about the full range of government surveillance of Internet users," Kevin Bankston, the group's free expression director, said in a statement.

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