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Facebook report shows slight rise in government requests for data

Monday, March 16, 2015 - 17:26
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Facebook Inc recorded a slight increase in government requests for account data in the second half of 2014, according to its Global Government Requests Report, which includes information about content removal.

[BENGALURU] Facebook Inc recorded a slight increase in government requests for account data in the second half of 2014, according to its Global Government Requests Report, which includes information about content removal.

Requests for account data increased to 35,051 in the second half of 2014 from 34,946 in the first half, with requests from countries such as India rising and those from others including United States and Germany falling, the report by the world's largest Internet social network showed.

Facebook said it restricted 9,707 pieces of content for violating local laws, 11 per cent more than in the first half, with access restricted to 5,832 pieces in India and 3,624 in Turkey.

"We will continue to scrutinize each government request and push back when we find deficiencies. We will also continue to push governments around the world to reform their surveillance practices in a way that maintains the safety and security of their people while ensuring their rights and freedoms are protected," Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy management wrote in a blog post.

Ms Bickert said Facebook challenges requests that appear to be "unreasonable" or "overbroad" and if a country requests content be removed because it is illegal, Facebook may restrict access only in that country.

The technology industry has pushed for greater transparency on government data requests, seeking to shake off concerns about their involvement in vast, surreptitious surveillance programs revealed by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google last year began publishing details about the number of government requests for data they receive.

Facebook on Sunday also updated its community standards to tell users what types of posts are not allowed on the service, providing guidance on policies related to self-injury, dangerous organizations, bullying and harassment, criminal activity, sexual violence and exploitation.

REUTERS