Government says they request Facebook data for both criminal investigations and national security matters
Facebook has released statistics revealing how often the government requests information on its users. During the first half of this year, Facebook released information on approximately 38,000 users in 74 countries.
Half of the requests originated from government officials inside the United States. The numbers are not exact because the government prohibits companies from “revealing how many times they’ve been ordered to turn over information about their customers,” reported AP.
Google and Microsoft released similar data in June exposing thousands of requests from government officials during the second half of 2012.
Facebook answered about 10,000 government requests during the last six months of 2012 affecting the accounts of roughly 20,000 people, reported Fox News.
In June, Facebook was accused of providing the NSA direct access to the company’s servers through the PRISM program, but Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, denied even knowing of the program.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook was not part of any program that gave the US government access to their servers. He also said they never received a “blanket request” from any government agency asking for metadata in bulk.
AP’s report says the social media giant released data 60% of the time in response to government requests. The exact user information provided is unknown.
Government says they request Facebook data for both criminal investigations and national security matters. Reports are unclear about which data is used for police and which is used strictly for “intelligence gathering.”
Last week it was revealed that Facebook and other tech giants received millions for their compliance in the PRISM program. The top secret material released to the Guardian proved for the first time a “financial relationship” between the social media hub and the NSA.
Facebook has been accelerating their own data collection as well. Infowars reported on Facebook’s new policy of collecting users’ photo identification cards, suspending and/or deleting accounts that failed to comply. User complaint patterns indicate Facebook tends to target those especially who promote transparency of government and support the Constitution.
Facebook has become the watchdog for dissidents in social media, censoring and deactivating accounts as they see fit. Yet Fox News argues that Facebook, Google and Microsoft have a unique alliance in which they’ve pressured the government to “loosen their legal gag on government surveillance orders.”