Facebook has seen a huge increase in the number of data requests from government as their popularity and world wide influence has grown. Interestingly enough about two thirds of these requests of information come with a gagging order.
In the latter part of 2015, the Facebook received an astonishing 46,763 requests for user data, which is up 13 percent from 41, 214 in the first half in that same year. Who the the change you many ask ?
Facebook is now doing something pretty ground breaking and are currently about 60 percent of the total current information sequester made by the FBI. Today the number 55,827 items are up items , up from 20,568. This number may be a bit off considering a huge percentage came from a single picture in France last year. The cyber security debate has penetrated every facet of the internet.
One of the case studies explains that the increase in restricted content in this half is almost entirely due to one photo related to the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris. The photo was alleged to violate French law related to protecting human dignity. We restricted access to more than 32,000 copies of the photo, in France only, in response to a legal request from the French government.” Said Facebook in an official blog post.
U.S. authorities in this regard were very active, and requested 19,235 pieces of user data. In 81 percent of said cases, Facebook produced some piece of data and in many were completely compliant with the requests.
Facebook is no longer the sole company that release these kinds of reports that concern transparency. A sizable amount of other tech companies which include but are not limited to Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all trying to get on board.
That said Tensions have been very high between tech firms and the government of late, this is nothing new, but was is interesting is that for the most part anyone who at least as a passive relationship to news and current events is aware of this fact. What dominated the news feed for months was constantly the status of the ongoing fight between the FBI and Apple in their attempts to unlock an iPhone at was owned by one of the San Bernadino Shooters. We are still living in the aftermath of that very public ordeal, but what was interesting is that Apple didn’t back down, andthey didn’t give in to the mounting trouble this was causing. In many ways this was great for them because it was a huge pubic ordeal where they were able to get a ton of free airtime and at the end they looked like the good guys and champions of internet security and privacy.
“we have emphasized many times, Facebook does not provide any government with back doors or direct access to people’s data. We scrutinize each request for user data we received for legal sufficiency, no matter which county is making the request. If a request appears to be diffident or overly brad, we push back hard and will fight in court if necessary.” Facebook added on its official blog. We will see if they put their money where their mouth is.