Facebook in its commitment for more transparent to its users on all government data requests, published its first ever Global Government Requests Report which covers the first 6 months of 2013, ending June 30. The transparency report provides details of countries and the number of requests received seeking information from Facebook about its users, details on the number of users accounts specified in those requests and the percentage of these requests in which Facebook disclosed some data about its users.
According to the report India ranked second in requesting users information from Facebook. India Government and other Government agencies asked information on 4,144 users/account in around 3,245 request to Facebook.
In comparison United States asked information on 20,000 – 21,000 users/account in around 11,000 – 12,000 request to Facebook. Of the request received Facebook shared around 50% of the requested data with India, while it shared 79% of requested data with U.S.
Facebook’s first transparency report provides details on 74 countries that requested information of around 38000 users/accounts. Facebook says “We hope this report will be useful to our users in the ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations. And while we view this compilation as an important first report – it will not be our last. In coming reports, we hope to be able to provide even more information about the requests we receive from law enforcement authorities.”
“As we have made clear in recent weeks, we have stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests. We believe this process protects the data of the people who use our service, and requires governments to meet a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests. When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name.” says Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel.
Search engine giant Google was the first to start offering Transparency report which provides great insight on government’s and non-government agencies requests to users details and to remove web contents from Google. In the recent Google Transparency report the number of content removal requests Google received from Indian Government and non-government agencies increased by whooping 90%.
Image Credit – Facebook