Like Google, Facebook is regularly consulted by government and judicial authorities of different countries concerning information about its users. As the social network is keen on showing more transparency, it just released for the first time the number of applications received per country during the first half of 2013. As a result, the United States ranks far ahead and European countries have also issued many requests in the first six months of the year.
Just like it is the case for Google, the U.S. is far ahead of government requests concerning personal data: official authorities’ requests concerning Facebook users reaches almost 12,000 applications, which are linked to about 20,000 users. This represents almost half of all queries in the world, but more than half of the users. Indeed, 79% of these justice requests lead to the disclosure of user’s data. This is the highest rate among the major countries, only the ones of Albania (83%, 6 applications ), Taiwan (84% , 229 applications), Hong Kong (100% demand ) and Iceland ( 100% demand ) ranks front.
Behind the United States are India (3,245 requests) , the United Kingdom (1,975 ), Germany (1,886 ) Italy (1,705 ) and France (1,547) . Other nations stand far behind, with Brazil (715 ), Australia (546) and Spain (479). China is not listed, due to Facebook is not accessible in this territory. For other countries with a large population, such as Japan and Russia, they stand out with just one simple application each. The small country of Nepal is ahead of these big countries with 3 queries.
Concerning a country like France, where 1547 claims concerned 1598 users, this shows that almost all the requests were individual, while other countries such as the United States, India, Italy, Malaysia or Spain do not hesitate to batch requests. Only 39% of these requests involved the disclosure of data. This rate is two times lower than the one concerning the United States and well below other countries such as U.K., India and Italy. According to Facebook, each application is said to be checking with the greatest care, the company says that it” requires a detailed description of the legal grounds on which the application is based.”
The social network claims to have “established a very strict procedure for managing governmental requests. This procedure aiming at users’ data protection sets a very high legal limit for us to accept to provide information to a government “.
The vast majority of these applications are related to criminal cases, robbery or kidnapping. Given the fact that our societies are shifting to a 100% digital era, this indeed pushes the authorities to turn to ISP for some information, due to Internet keeps individuals’ moves.
To facilitate the investigators’ research, websites such as Facebook or Twitter are forced to store their data for at least one year not to undergo a heavy penalty and even imprisonment sentences.
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