Facebook has recorded a massive increase in government requests for data globally in the past six months. In its biannual transparency report released on Tuesday, the social media giant said there were about 82,341 requests – an increase of 4% – from governments for data between July and December 2017.
Of these, India made 12,171 requests, second only to the United States of America’s 32,742 requests. Facebook complied with some or all data in 53% of the Indian requests. In the first half of 2017, India had made 9,853 requests, and Facebook complied with some or all data in 54% of them.
“Government officials sometimes make requests for data about people who use Facebook as part of official investigations,” Facebook said, adding that the majority of these requests relate to criminal cases such as robberies or kidnappings. “In many of these cases, these government requests seek basic subscriber information, such as name, registration date and length of service. Other requests may also seek IP address logs or account content.”
The requests not only covered Facebook but also its other products like Instagram and Messenger.
Here are some other countries that requested Facebook for data:
|Country||Total data requests|
|India|| 12,171 |
| United Kingdom ||7,455|
| Germany ||5,067|
| France ||4,249|
| Brazil || 2,529 |
| Pakistan ||1,320|
Explaining the types of the data requests, Facebook said they are broadly classified as “emergency requests” and “legal process”.
Legal process requests include those where a search warrant is issued. In the second half of 2017, India had made 11,874 such requests against the global average of over 76,000 requests.
“In emergencies, law enforcement may submit requests without legal process,” Facebook added. “Based on the circumstances, we may voluntarily disclose information to law enforcement where we have a good faith reason to believe that the matter involves imminent risk of serious physical injury or death.” India had requested for data 297 times in this manner. Globally, governments had used this method about 6,200 times.
“Facebook responds to government requests for data in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service,” the company said. “Each and every request we receive is carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency and we may reject or require greater specificity on requests that appear overly broad or vague.”