Facebook Inc (FB) Says Govt. Requested Data For Thousands of Users


Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) released a new report today concerned with information requests from sovereign actors. The report, which was published by Facebook on its website, showed that close to half of the 25,000 requests came from the United States. Most of the requests, according to the post, were in relation to crimes like kidnapping and robberies.

Facebook Inc (FB) Says Govt. Requested Data For Thousands of Users

The report dealt with information requests for the first half of the year, and concerned a total of 15,000 requests for nearly 40,000 users of the company’s social network. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) broke down the numbers as well as it could, but was bound in detail by some legal restrictions.

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Facebook information requests

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) released specific numbers about most of the countries concerned, but the figures for the United States were given in a range from 11,000-12,000. The company said that this was not their decision, but was done in order to comply with U.S. law.

“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 authorisation to do so.”

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is not the most powerful link in the chain leading from private citizens to sovereign information gathering, and it has little power to step outside the restrictions placed on it by the sovereign bodies at the end of the chain.

Facebook public image

The information released by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) represents an effort to normalize the collection of information in the minds of its users, and to reduce the impact that information gathering has on public opinion. In the wake of the NSA scandal U.S. tech companies are facing resistance from users who value their personal information.

Americans and others in the Western world have few alternatives to services like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), however, and that means the effect on user participation is difficult to quantify. It’s clear that investors don’t see privacy concerns as a big issue; Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) reached an all time share high in trading on Monday.

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