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Facebook reveals global government data snooping requests

Aug 28, 2013 | News

(28 August 2013) – The combined requests by EU member states for information from Facebook amounted to roughly two-thirds the number of US requests, according to global data disclosed by the social network site yesterday.

Facebook disclosed how many requests for data were made by which countries and how often they were successful, according to the data, which relates to the first six months of this year.

With a total of 12,000 requests the US represented the largest single country to ask for data, but India made 3,254 requests and the EU taken as a whole was responsible for 8,590 demands.

Facebook said it had “stringent processes” in place to handle government data requests, the vast majority of which relate to criminal investigations such as robberies or kidnappings. Each were scrutinised for legal compliance, said Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel.

There was a wide variation in the number of requests made by EU countries, however, with the greatest number coming from the UK (1,954), Germany (1,886), Italy (1,705) and France (1,547). Meanwhile, The Netherlands and Denmark only made 11 requests, and Bulgaria filed one.

The disclosure follows US officials’ confirmation earlier this year of the existence of Prism, a programme to collect data from Google, Facebook, Skype and other US companies, after a whistleblower leaked documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post newspapers revealing the operation. (With EurActiv)

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