Facebook: U.S. gov't made close to 12,000 data requests during first half of 2013

Summary:Some of the other nations that stood out on the list with data requests in the thousands included France, Italy, India, Germany, and the United Kingdom.


Facebook has published its first transparency report, revealing the number of data requests it receieves from governments around the world -- and it's already a doozy.

See also:  Twitter Transparency Report sees uptick in removal requests worldwide | Google reports more government removal requests 'than ever before'

Covering the first six months of 2013, the first report only goes into the following four metrics: which countries requested information from Facebook about its users, the number of requests received from each of those countries, the number of users/user accounts cited in those requests, and the percentage of requests in which Facebook was required by law to hand over at least some information.

The social network reported that the United States alone has made between 11,000 and 12,000 reports, translating to information requests about between 20,000 and 21,000 users.

Facebook admitted it was forced to relinquish data in response to at least 79 percent of those requests.

Acknowledging that exact numbers were provided for requests from foreign governments, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch explained in the report as to why only a range was provided for requests stemming from the United States:

We have reported the numbers for all criminal and national security requests to the maximum extent permitted by law. We continue to push the United States government to allow more transparency regarding these requests, including specific numbers and types of national security-related requests. We will publish updated information for the United States as soon as we obtain legal authorization to do so.

Some of the other nations that stood out on the list with data requests in the thousands included France, Italy, India, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

A full list of data requests broken down by country is available online now.

Facebook didn't provide a time frame as to how often it will publish future reports. By comparison, Google typically publishes its own transparency report every six months.

Image via Facebook

Topics: Government : US, Legal, Security, Social Enterprise


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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