Following the footsteps of Google, Twitter and Microsoft, Facebook has released its first report on requests made by the global governments to access users' information. Covering the first six months of 2013, ending June 30, Facebook's 'Global Governments Requests Report' reveals the U.S. had made the highest number of requests (over 11,000) information about users. Indiaranks second with 3,245 requests for information in the first six months.
The UK is third in the list with 1,975 requests, while fourth place went to Germany with 1,886 requests. The report has information about 74 countries and contains information such as the number of users/user accounts specified in the requests and percentage of the requests in which Facebook was required by law to reveal at least some data.
“As we have made clear in recent weeks, we have stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests. We believe this process protects the data of the people who use our service, and requires governments to meet a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users,” says Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel in a post.
“We hope this report will be useful to our users in the ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations. And while we view this compilation as an important first report - it will not be our last. In coming reports, we hope to be able to provide even more information about the requests we receive from law enforcement authorities.”
Facebook's latest report comes as a part of the ongoing efforts by the Internet companies such as Google, Twitter and Microsoft to encourage all government to provide greater transparency.
Google in its recent transparency report had highlighted a steady surge in the requests to share data from Internet users. As per the report, India ranks second among the governments who made the most requests to share users data. Twitter's transparency report also included India among the governments who made requests to withhold content.
Facebook's report comes in the wake of the recent revelations of data mining by the U.S. government. While the US government has faced criticism for its controversial PRISM programme, the Indian government is also drawing flak for its efforts to pre-screen the Internet content.
According to a recent report by Freedom House, an organisation that runs research and advocacy on democracy, India ranks 14th among 37 countries that were assessed on the basis of free and unrestricted access to the web.