Facebook: government requests for user data up 24% in last six months

Google reported similar increases in requests for user data in September this year, with a 150 per cent rise over the last 5 years

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The Independent Tech

In the last six months governments around the world have submitted nearly a quarter more requests for Facebook’s user data compared with the last half of 2013.

The social media company revealed the new figures in their Global Governments Requests Reports, instated a year and a half ago as the site reacted to user demands for increased transparency.

“In the first six months of 2014, governments around the world made 34,946 requests for data — an increase of about 24% since the last half of 2013,” said Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby in a statement.

He added that the company was still in the middle of fighting what it described as its ‘largest ever’ data requests, for photographs, private messages and other information relating to almost 400 individuals accused of benefit fraud in New York.

“We’re aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized,” said Mr Sonderby.

The social network’s latest report revealed that in the UK there were 2,110 requests for user data covering some 2,619 individual accounts. Facebook said that it handed over user data to the police for 71 per cent of these request.

The US, by comparison, produced 15,433 requests covering 23,667 accounts, with Facebook handing over data in 80 per cent of cases.

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