Facebook published a global report concerning global government requests. Transparency and trust are core values at Facebook. We strive to embody them in all aspects of our services, including our approach to responding to government data requests – says Colin Stretch, General Counsel at Facebook.
The report includes information about the number of government-issued requests Facebook received for user data. Additionally, it provides data regarding the percentage of requests which were at least partially answered by Facebook. The report covers the first six months of 2013.
As we have made clear in recent weeks, we have stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests. We believe this process protects the data of the people who use our service, and requires governments to meet a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users. We scrutinise each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests. When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name – says Colin Stretch.
In Poland there were 233 requests concerning 158 user accounts. Facebook honoured 9 percent of the cases which is a low result compared to other countries.
The greatest number of requests was issued by the United States (about 11-12 thousand regarding 20-21 user accounts), Facebook released the data in 79 percent of cases. The social network honoured 100 percent of requests only in Hong Kong and Island, however in both cases there was just one request. Over 1000 requests were issued in India (3245), Great Britain (1975), Germany (1886), Italy (1705) and France (1547), where Facebook responded positively to the greatest number of requests is Great Britain (68%) and the lowest number in Germany (37%).
As we have said many times, we believe that while governments have an important responsibility to keep people safe, it is possible to do so while also being transparent. Government transparency and public safety are not mutually exclusive ideals. Each can exist simultaneously in free and open societies, and they help make us stronger. We strongly encourage all governments to provide greater transparency about their efforts aimed at keeping the public safe, and we will continue to be aggressive advocates for greater disclosure - Colin Stretch sums up.