Facebook is keen to reassure us that its core values are still “transparency and trust” and that it takes seriously the privacy of its users, with the release of its first Global Government Request Report.
So what information can we expect to glean from the report? Well Facebook’s aim is to provide us with details such as which countries have requested information about its users, how many were requested and the number of users or user accounts that were specified. It also includes what percentage of the requests the law asked for at least some data.
It covers the period of the first six months of this year, ending with June.
The release of Facebook’s first Transparency Report follows revelations that the social network participates in the National Security Agency’s PRISM program, causing concerns over privacy. In response to these concerns, companies started revealing how many requests they had received and taking action to receive permission to disclose more details about the information governments wanted to view.
Facebook have explained that it has stringent processes in place in order to handle government data requests. In a press release it said, “We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests.”
The report reveals that the US government made more requests than any other countrywith 11,000 to 12,000 requests that concerned between 20,000 and 21,000 users. Facebook says it complied with those requests 79 percent of the time, which, if they requested 20k and the compliance rate was 79 percent, means 15,800 accounts’ data was handed over.
Facebook will be providing these reports regularly in the future but how often we are unsure at the moment. What we do know is that the company is encouraging governments to be open about their efforts to keep the public safe, especially when this relates to personal information.
Take a look at the report here and share your comments with us about what you think. Do you find this report helpful or reassuring?
[Image via Digital Trends]