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India second only to US in probing Facebook users

social media Updated: Aug 29, 2013 13:05 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times

India is second to the United States in probing Facebook users, the social networking site’s first Global Government Requests Report reveals.

There were 3,245 user data requests that Facebook received from Indian authorities covering 4,144 individuals for the first six months of 2013. The report contains the total number of requests Facebook received from each government, including both criminal and national security requests.

The US in turn had between 11,000 and 12,000 data requests from 20,000 to 21,000 accounts in the same period. After US and India, Germany, France and Italy had made maximum requests.

Facebook said they would publish updated information for the United States as soon as they obtain legal authorisation to do so, explaining why they published the data for the US in ranges.

Governments requests Facebook and other companies for seeking account information in official investigations. The vast majority of these requests relate to criminal cases such as robberies or kidnappings, said the social networking site.

In many of these cases, these government requests seek basic subscriber information, such as name and length of service. Other requests may also seek IP address logs or actual account content. We have strict guidelines in place to deal with all government data 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”, said Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel about the Global Government Requests Report.

The Facebook report comes in the wake of intense debates over online surveillance mounted by various government authorities like the prism project of the United States.

Among India’s neighbours, Pakistan made 35 requests regarding seeking of details of 47 individuals. While Bangladesh sought details of 12 such individuals on Facebook, Nepal had asked for the same of 3 users. Russia and Japan had sought details of one account, says the report.

Facebook said they would regularly bring out such reports.