Facebook promises to fight back against increasing government requests for personal data

Facebook has announced its latest Government Requests Report (the third one the social network has produced), which details the amount of requests for data, and content removal, received from governments across the world.

In the first half of 2014, Facebook saw a total of 34,946 requests for data globally, which is up 24 per cent since the second half of 2013. In the same period, Facebook noted that the amount of content restricted due to local laws went up by 19 per cent.

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In the UK, Facebook received a total of 2,110 requests for data from the government, and 9 content removal requests.

The US saw the vast majority of data requests, though – almost half of that total global number at 15,433.

Facebook said that it deeply considers every single request, and it is willing to "push back hard" when hit by overly broad or dubious data requests.

The social network cited an example of such action where it has challenged bulk search warrants issued by a New York court asking for almost all the data from 400 accounts to be forked over.

In a statement, Facebook noted: "Despite a setback in the lower court, we're aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized. We're grateful for the support of others in industry and civil society who've filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of our fight.

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"We expect the case to be decided by a New York appellate court later this year, and we look forward to updating you on the results of this important case."

Facebook also noted that it supports the USA Freedom Act and recent efforts to pass it in the Senate, and that it's optimistic about Congress updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in the US to require a warrant for obtaining data from a Facebook account.