Facebook releases data of govt requests; India ranks 2nd

Author: Nikhil Kanekal

Facebook Inc released data on government data requests that it received over the first six months of 2013, in which India stood at second place with 3245 requests, affecting 4144 accounts.

The highest number was received in the United States – between 11,000-12,000 requests – affecting 20,000-21,000 accounts. Globally, there were over 25,000 requests affecting around 38,000 users. This is the first time the Menlo Park-based Internet company has released numbers for government data requests for jurisdictions outside the United States.

Requests for data are sought from governments for a variety of reasons, including criminal investigations and national security matters. According to a blog post by Colin Stretch, Facebook’s General Counsel, the company is hoping “this report will be useful to our users in the ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations.”

Facebook Inc has around 83 million users in India.


Data requests

Accounts affected

Compliance rate

US 11,000 – 12,000 20,000 – 21,000 79%

India 3,245 4,144 50%
UK 1,975 2,337 68%
Germany 1,886 2,068 37%
Italy 1,705 2,306 53%
France 1,547 1,598 39%
Brazil 715 857 33%
Australia 546 601 64%
Spain 479 715 51%
Poland 233 158 9%
Taiwan 229 329 84%
Chile 215 340 68%
Canada 192 219 44%
Portugal 177 213 42%
Argentina 152 218 27%
Belgium 150 169 70%
Greece 122 141 54%
Israel 113 132 50%
Singapore 107 117 70%


Medianama’s Nikhil Pahwa had this to say in his report on Facebook’s data:

Also worth keeping in mind is that these requests are only going to increase, with paranoid governments spying on citizens. In India, the government is putting in place a Centralised Monitoring System across telecom operators and ISP’s, which allows it to monitor Internet traffic, without approval from courts, and as per the Minister of State for IT Milind Deora, even without the knowledge of the telecom operator. However, information that is with companies like Google and Facebook, is encrypted, and hence, the Indian government will not have direct access to it. In comparison, if you go by the PRISM revelations, these companies are providing access to their data to the US Government.

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