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Government requests for Facebook user data continue to increase worldwide

Government requests for Facebook user data continue to increase worldwide
From TechCrunch - December 18, 2017

Facebook continues to see increased requests for user data from governments worldwide, according to its latest transparency report.

The social network first introduced the reports, which give raw figures on data requests and data granted, in 2013 to help increase visibility on government behavior. Facebook is limited on what information it can share, but sheer numbers show requests hit 78,890 in the first half of 2017, an increase of 33 percent year-on-year and 23 percent on the previous six-month period.

The U.S., India, UK, Germany and France were the most active in making data requests, accounting for 41 percent, 12 percent, nine percent, seven percent and six percent of the numbers, respectively. Each of those countrys government had more than 50 percent of requests granted, with the U.S. (85 percent), UK (90 percent) and France (74 percent) notable for higher rates.

The amount of data restricted by Facebook to governments also shot up in the first half of 2017 to reach28,036, up from6,944 the previous quarter and9,666 one year prior. However, much of that figure can be traced back to a tragic shooting at a school in Mexico, which resulted in Facebook restricting access to 20,506 pieces of content.

Despite the disclosures there remains plenty that Facebook cant say, particularly around the nature and intention of data requests from governments. Thats particularly true in the U.S..

Fifty-seven percent of the data requests we received from law enforcement in the U.S. contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user, up from 50 percent in our last report, FacebookDeputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby wrote in a blog post.

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