Facebook received more than 6,000 requests for data from government in first half of 2016
24 December 2016
Facebook received 6,324 requests for data in the first half of 2016 from the Indian government, according to the social network's latest Global Government Requests Report.
The number is an increase from 5,561 in the last six months of 2015. Facebook was able to produce ''some data'' in 53.59 per cent of the cases, which too was higher than the 50 per cent in the last quarter.
Chris Sonderby, Facebook's deputy general counsel said ''government requests for account data increased by 27 per cent globally compared to the last half of 2015, increasing from 46,710 to 59,229 requests.'' He added that about 56 per cent of the requests from law enforcement in the US, contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited the social network from notifying the user.
''As for content restriction requests, the number of items restricted for violating local law decreased by 83 per cent from 55,827 to 9,663,'' he said. He attributed the spike in the half before to the French content restrictions of a single image from the 13 November 2015 terrorist attacks.
In the first instance of its kind, Facebook had added government requests to preserve data pending receipt of formal legal process. On receipt of such a request, a temporary snapshot of the relevant account information in preserved.
Since Edward Snowden revealed the mass surveillance being carried out by US and European government on its citizens in 2013, companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft had been publishing yearly ''transparency reports'' where they tabulate the number of requests for user data that a nation had requested.
The data can be freely accessed by the public. While detailed information on these reports had not been provided, some it had even been muzzled by governments.
However, according to commentators, as a barometer of the state of internet surveillance and censorship however, this data would do just fine.