[QODLink]
Americas

Facebook and Microsoft reveal data requests

Facebook says US requests related to 18,000 to 19,000 user accounts and covered criminal and national security issues.

Last Modified: 15 Jun 2013 07:13
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Facebook says these requests cover "only a tiny fraction of one percent" of its 1.1 billion active user accounts [EPA]

Several internet companies have struck an agreement with the US government to release limited information about the number of surveillance requests they receive, two sources familiar with the discussions told the Reuters news agency.

We will continue to push all governments to be as transparent as possible

Facebook 

Facebook became the first to release aggregate numbers of requests, saying in a blogpost that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data in the second half of 2012, covering 18,000 to 19,000 of its users' accounts.

The company said it released the information after reaching a deal about disclosures with US national security authorities.

"These requests run the gamut - from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a police department investigating an assault, to a national security official investigating a terrorist threat," Facebook said in its blogpost on Friday.

Microsoft Corp said later on Friday that for the last six months of 2012 it received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from local, state and federal US governmental entities.

'Tiny fraction'

Facebook is quick to point out that these cover "only a tiny fraction of one percent" of its 1.1 billion active user accounts.

Like Facebook earlier, Microsoft says the requests cover a tiny fraction of the accounts it serves [AFP]

"We will continue to be vigilant in protecting our users’ data from unwarranted government requests, and we will continue to push all governments to be as transparent as possible."

The agreements underscore the pressure imposed on the US government and internet companies after news leaked last week of a controversial National Security Agency programme involving surveillance of foreigners.

The disclosure of that programme triggered concern about the scope and extent of the information-gathering exercise.

Other internet companies are expected to release numbers of government requests without revealing how many originate from the National Security Agency, the sources said.

Google, Facebook and Microsoft have publicly urged the US government to allow them to reveal the number and scope of the surveillance requests they receive, including confidential requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Google declined to comment.

425

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.