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Government information requests for Facebook users continues to climb

Government requests for Facebook user data increased 24 percent from the middle of 2013 to the first half of this year, according to Facebook.

The company has experienced a nearly one-quarter rise in the number of government user information requests, while the number of government requests for content restrictions rose by 19 percent.

A news report released by Facebook confirmed that they received 34,946 data requests by varying worldwide government agencies between January and June of 2014. Although these types of government requests are generally for criminal investigations, Facebook does say they ensure all inquiry requests are legally sufficient.

The social media giant continues to deal with a bulk search warrant on 400 of its users; a warrant that Facebook says violates both privacy and constitutional rights. Chris Sonderby, Facebook Deputy General Counsel, wrote in a press release, “We scrutinize every government request we receive for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests.”

While the company emphasizes its opposition to unjust requests, their last report is certainly less focused on the frequency of National Security Letters (NSL) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders Facebook receives. These two US laws allow the American government data surveillance for security reasons, however, companies are not legally allowed to disclose the exact information of the government request.


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