U.S. Dominates Volume Of Government Requests For Facebook User Info Worldwide


Facebook has released a tally sheet enumerating how many times governments have requested information on individual users over the first six months of 2013. In all, there have been more than 25,000 requests from national governments worldwide – and, as you might have guessed, the U.S. is at the front of the pack.

The release, dubbed the “Global Government Requests Report,” not only shows the frequency with which Facebook is approached by governments requesting information, but the number of times Facebook has complied.

Facebook honored 79 percent of the estimated 12,000 U.S. government requests it received in an effort to gain information on an estimated 20,000 individual users.

As Adi Robertson of tech website The Verge explains, the nature of the requests range from trifling to significant.

The table lists anything made by any government branch, from standard law enforcement to more covert activities, and it includes requests for all kinds of information. That means we’re looking at everything from a police subpoena asking for a burglar’s account email address to a secret court order for the IP address of a protestor.

… These numbers appear to have risen slightly from Facebook’s estimates in 2012. Unlike all other country data, the US numbers can’t even be reported exactly. The gag orders associated with FBI national security letters and FISA court requests make it difficult to talk about many orders at all, and Facebook was only allowed to start mentioning them in ranges in June.

As you’ll see on the Facebook press release page, the U.S. is indeed the only country whose numbers are mere estimates; all others are presented with single-digit precision.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Jeff Noncent

    I will never trust facebook again

    • scott miller

      How could you ever trust them in the first place?

      yahoo, google and of course big social sites have for years been turning over info, years ago it was more to china now days it is more the usg.

      what would be really shocking, and garner a ton of internet support, is if one of the big guns took a stand and said no.

      but the usg is also trying more and more to take over the internet pretty much lock stock and barrel. maybe if they appease them they can hold onto their illusion of freedom a bit longer.

    • billybob

      It isn’t a matter of trust. Think for a moment. You have exposed yourself to millions of people. Anyone can look at your profile, they can monitor your emails and messages that you send. They probably know more about your habits, preferences and mindset that your close family does! If you are on this page, people who read it already know you are most likely a conservative. Like that Rodeo Clown, those who opposed people like us will do every thing in their power to viify us in public, thus making us powerless. It is a tactic for anyone who may be a threat to the existing power structure. He was a dupe. He had no political agenda, but in order to protect Obama they came out like the cops in a shooting. They over react. It is intentional and it sends a strong message to others that if you go there we will cruxify you. People like Will Rogers(Look him up ) would have been without a way of making a living because he used his humor to lambast the politicians. Bob Hope was another who jokes about the politicians. Are they bad people.? No they were exercizing the right to free speech. That is now in question! I have no doubt that there are politicians who busy writting up new laws that will prohibit people from amking remarka about the polticians in public or on the internet. Big Brother is here and he don’t like you!

    • ibn insha

      If you are not your own best friend then nobody is. Our government probably values toilet paper more than it does our constitution. Therefore, you cannot expect your government to respect your privacy.

      When you sign for free services such as E-mail and Facebook accounts the companies make it clear that you allow them to use your information as they please. I don’t know why people are surprised. At least these private companies cannot put you in jail as government can.

      I value my privacy that is why I never had Facebook or Twitter account. I don’t care if nobody knows I exist.

      Our government spies on all of us all the time. If you want to remain private and anonymous from government then you have to change government, either peacefully or otherwise.

      If you want to remain private in your general life then you have to remain private. You cannot expose yourself to the world by having lot of friends and joining Facebook and Twitter and expect nobody would know anything about you. You cannot expect others to provide you privacy. You have to keep yourself private. If you don’t want your neighbor to peek through your windows put curtain on your windows.

  • Al Chemist

    There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that this administration will not do to keep track of their (perceived) enemies. Even the smallest, inconsequential detail will be magnified and used against them if they become a (perceived) threat. I will bet that many who are targeted, (in this country) are conservatives.

    • Robert Messmer

      Every administration from FDR to now has had an Enemies List. Of course before technology exploded it was the FBI digging up the dirt. J. Edgar Hoover had files on everybody who didn’t blend in 100%. Why do you think that of all the political appointees in DC that no matter which party had the power J. Edgar always kept his job? He had dirt; real, imagined or fictionalized on everyone, no politician would take the chance that his file might be used against him.

    • billybob

      That is funny, because in Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals”, one of his tactics or rules is make the enemy( you and I) think that they are doing things that they aren’t, but make them think you are. Another word that comes to mind is “Paranoia”. It is the bible or Koran, of the Obama administration. If you read it, you will understand what is going on in this administration and why they think nothing of violating or just ignoring the constitution. It explains why Obama ignore the three powers of government and has illegally made war without the consent of the congress. Why no one is the judicial does anything about it! Why what was called the congress is useless in doing anything to change it and lastly why nothing gets done in Washington except special favors from King Obama for his minnows like keeping their insurance plans while letting the average person get it in the end, like a good proctologist.

  • peter

    They have got you covered – get used to it. You socialize at your peril with all the nutcases out there nowadays. I personally know some folks who brag about the number of friends they have on facebook, numbering in the hundreds. Nobody has that number of friends. Just because you speak to someone or have met them does not make them a friend. Friends are precious, highly valuable and very hard to come by and telling the entire world about yourself, whether you tell the truth or not, is highly dangerous and a practice to be avoided. Putting liars like Obama on a pedestal results in bitter disappointment and so it goes with anyone you may choose to idolize. Take care, just be civil and all should be well. Bless you all.

    • billybob

      Being on Facebook is like having Aids you can never get rid of it!

  • ibn insha

    Government had probable cause against 12,000 individuals having Facebook account? Smells fishy.