Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has released their latest Global Government Requests Report for the first half of 2016, which reveals the number of government requests the social media company has received for data. According to the report government requests for account data increased by 27% globally compared to the last half of 2015. A total of 59,229 requests have been made in the first half of the year, the majority from law enforcement agencies in the United States.
It is the first time a report includes information about the requests Facebook received from governments around the world to preserve data pending receipt of formal legal process. Facebook has also revealed that they have expanded reporting of emergency requests and disclosures to include countries outside the United States. In cases of emergency, the company may disclose information in cases they believe the matter involves risk of serious injury or death. The requirement from law enforcement will be to describe the emergency and explain how the requested disclosure might prevent harm.
Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel, noted in the report, that, “we apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive to protect the information of the people who use our services. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request, and challenge those that are deficient or overly broad. We do not provide governments with “back doors” or direct access to people’s information. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms.”