Requests for Facebook data up 24 per cent

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Surveillance requests for Facebook user data rose by 24 per cent from the second half of 2013 to the first half of 2014, according to Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report.

Between January and June, the social networking site received a total of 34,946 requests, which include IP addresses, messages and account information. In the United States, the number of data requests increased to more than 15,000 from around 11,000 to 12,000 over the same period last year.

Censorship also grew across the world, with the amount of Facebook content restricted due to local laws expanding by 19 per cent, said the report.

The social networking site is not the only service to have witnessed a sharp hike in censorship and surveillance requests. In September, Google said that requests for user data grew by 15 per cent compared to the previous six months. This translates to a 150 per cent increase over five years.

In a blog post accompanying the report, Facebook explained that it does not accept every request to restrict content or provide user data.

“As we’ve said before, we scrutinize every government request we receive for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests,” wrote Facebook’s deputy general counsel, Chris Sonderby.

The company also revealed that it received between 0 and 999 National Security Letters between January and June. The US government does not allow companies such as Facebook to disclose the exact number of request made by intelligence agencies.


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