SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has released its latest transparency report, highlighting a 13 per cent rise in government demands and admitting that its hands remain tied over some revelations.
"Overall, we continue to see an increase globally in government requests for user data and content restrictions pursuant to local law," said Chris Sonderby, deputy general counsel at Facebook, in the Government Requests Report.
"Government requests for account data increased from 41,214 to 46,763. The number of items restricted for violating local law increased over the first half of 2015 to 55,827, up from 20,568.
"For the first time, we are also reporting information about non-disclosure orders. Approximately 60 per cent of the requests we received for user data from authorities in the US contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us notifying the user."
The firm is also able to lessen the width of the band of accounts that can be discussed in terms of national security requests. These can now be reported in bands of 500, instead of 1,000, which reflects changes in US law.
Facebook received 4,190 requests for account data in the UK in the six-month period, to which the company responded positively 82 per cent of the time.
Facebook started publishing these reports after Edward Snowden revealed a technology industry privacy problem, . The firm insists that it does not hand over personal information without serious thought, and has its users' interests at heart. Also, although it did not say this, it has the advertising revenue.
"As we have emphasised many times, Facebook does not provide any government with ‘back doors' or direct access to people's data. We scrutinise each request for user data we receive for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request," added Sonderby.
"If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court if necessary.
"Over the last few years, we've regularly published information about the nature and extent of the requests we receive. To protect the information of the people that use our service, we will continue to apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive." µ
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