Facebook Report Shows Major Spike In Government's User Data Requests

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Facebook's annual transparency report for 2017 is out and the Indian government's request for data, user accounts were up by a significant margin.

Police forces filed 21% more requests for data from Facebook in the first half of 2017 than they did in the last six months of 2016.

According to Facebook sources, India where Facebook has the largest registered users requested for data 9,853 times in the first half of 2017 compared with 6,324 times in the the previous year same period. The governments of these countries had more than 50 percent of their requests granted.

Those requests asked for data on 52,280 users, and the company provided such data 85 per cent of the time.

"We continue to carefully scrutinise each request we receive for account data - whether from an authority in the US, Europe, or elsewhere - to make sure it is legally sufficient", said Chris Sonderby, deputy general counsel at Facebook.

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It also logs the times when access to Facebook is restricted and, for the first time, reports requests from rights holders over pirated, trademarked or counterfeit content.

Law enforcement authorities are permitted to confidentially request personal data from Facebook to obtain account details ranging from IP addresses, photos, messages, credit card details and email addresses. Those requests covered 41,492 users, and Facebook produced data on 83.4 per cent of them.

Facebook also says that 57% of the requests they got from United States law enforcement included a non-disclosure order that bans the company from telling the user that their data was requested. Next was India with 12 percent, then the United Kingdom (9 percent), Germany (7 percent), and France (6 percent).

Facebook restricted access to more than 20,000 copies of the video between January and June. Facebook says majority of the content was in violation of local laws of defamation and content violating religion and hate speech laws. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary. In the first six months of 2013, when the transparency reports first began, approximately 62 percent were granted. Some 70,000 solicitations for copyright came to Instagram, with 685,000 bits of substance evacuated. On Instagram, the company removed 10,094 posts following 10,231 counterfeit claims.