Facebook Reports 24 Percent Rise in Government Requests for User Data

Technology SecurityAccording to a Facebook report published this week, the site has seen a 24 percent increase in government requests for user information between the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2014. There were almost 35,000 total requests, and disturbingly, the United States government accounted for nearly half that with 15,433 requests alone.

“We continue to work with our industry and civil society partners to push governments for additional transparency and to reform surveillance practices necessary to rebuild people’s trust in the Internet,” wrote Chris Sonderby, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, in a press release announcing the report. “While we recognize that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we believe all government data requests must be narrowly tailored, proportionate to the case in review, and subject to strict judicial oversight.”

Though Facebook complies with nearly 80 percent of government data requests in the U.S., the company still makes an effort to fight back against them where appropriate, like in the company’s challenge against bulk search warrants this summer. It’s nice that Facebook is being upfront with how much the government is intruding into cyberspace; now the next step is figuring out how to limit or stop the snooping all together.