[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list