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Government data requests on Facebook up by 27 percent

SELF PROMOTION, AND ADVERTISE TO ME PORTAL Facebook, has seen a 27 per cent increase in the number of government demands for its data in the first half of this year. 

If there are two things that the INQUIRER does not much like they are government data demands and Facebook. A combination of the two just before Christmas is ill-timed but we can’t help that.

What we can say is that when the government comes knocking at house Zuckerberg it isn’t just let in and allowed to rummage through everyone’s underwear drawers No. Facebook has strict guidance on who, presumably other than those who pay to see it, can access pertinent personal data, and it isn’t about to just roll over and cough it up just because a government is worried about an unseen enemy.

“Today we are releasing our latest Global Government Requests Report for the first half of 2016, which details the number of government requests we received for data, as well as the number of items restricted for violating local law in countries where our service is available,” said Chris Sonderby, deputy general counsel at Facebook.

Government requests for account data increased by 27 percent globally compared to the last half of 2015, increasing from 46,710 to 59,229 requests. The majority of data requests we received from law enforcement in the United States, or approximately 56 percent, contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user.”

Ah sucks to be Facebook. The firm also reported on the number of demands for the removal of content. Here it suggested that figures had been skewed by a terrorist attack. Bloody terrorists.

“As for content restriction requests, the number of items restricted for violating local law decreased by 83 percent from 55,827 to 9,663,” added Sonderby soberly. “Last cycle’s figures had been elevated primarily by French content restrictions of a single image from the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks.”

It has been a tough couple of years and Facebook says that there are a number of ongoing things that it cannot comment on. It also made effort to make clear that there is no quick and dirty access provided to governments. Which may be reassuring to users.

“As we have previously emphasized, we apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive to protect the information of the people who use our services. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request, and challenge those that are deficient or overly broad,” added Sonderby.

“We do not provide governments with ‘back doors’ or direct access to people’s information. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms.” µ



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