Latest in Data

Image credit:

Facebook reveals government data request numbers, is first to include national security stats

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
June 14, 2013
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Facebook lawyer Ted Ullyot revealed in a post tonight precisely how many user-data requests it receives from government entities, and that it's negotiated the ability to include national security-related (FISA and National Security Letters) inquiries in the report. Until now, the companies that receive such requests, whether through the recently uncovered PRISM program or not, have not been able to say anything about them, or report how many there are. Still, the stats it's able to release aren't specific, and include all requests from the last six months in a range, said to be between 9,000 and 10,000, covering between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts. We still have no official reports on what those inquiries cover, how wide reaching a single one can be or what information has been passed along. Facebook however, is quick to point out that these cover "only a tiny fraction of one percent" of its 1.1 billion active user accounts.

Along with Microsoft and Google, Facebook has publicly petitioned the government to let it be more transparent about the size and scope of the requests it receives, and Reuters reports tonight that "several" internet companies have struck an agreement to do so. Expect more reports to arrive soon in similar formats, however Ullyot states Facebook will continue to push the government to be "as transparent as possible."

For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000. 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. The total number of Facebook user accounts for which data was requested pursuant to the entirety of those 9-10 thousand requests was between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Belkin’s new wireless charger tries to do what AirPower promised

Belkin’s new wireless charger tries to do what AirPower promised

View
A bunch of gaming peripherals are deeply discounted for Black Friday

A bunch of gaming peripherals are deeply discounted for Black Friday

View
The best Black Friday tech deals we could find

The best Black Friday tech deals we could find

View
Scientists find neutrinos from star fusion for the first time

Scientists find neutrinos from star fusion for the first time

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr