back to article Facebook gov surveillance data kept locked inside, er, Facebook

Facebook has released its first government transparency report, revealing – unsurprisingly – that once again India, the US and Blighty were the countries whose police were most likely to snoop on our online activities. Ironically, anyone wishing to actually access the data, at the time of writing, needs a Facebook ID first. …


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  1. Tom 35

    Facebook didn't share with us how many such requests it had rejected.

    Or (obviously) all the requests that included a gag order.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook didn't share with us how many such requests it had rejected.

      No, FB got permission to publish aggregate numbers (to the nearest thousand) including those FISA requests. Google hasn't yet because they want to publish the number broken out separately from other requests. But it would still be illegal for them to knowingly publish wrong numbers - if they couldn't publish accurate (if imprecise) statistics, they wouldn't publish any at all.

  2. Amonynous

    Statistics, etc..

    Interesting, but slightly more meaningful if combined with demographic data,, e.g. the top ten requestors per 100,000 head of population are:

    Malta 23.7 accounts requested per 100,000 head of population

    United States 6.5

    Italy 3.8

    United Kingdom 3.7

    New Zealand 2.8

    Australia 2.7

    Germany 2.5

    France 2.4

    Singapore 2.2

    Chile 2.0

    Similarly, the top ten requestors per 100,000 Facebook accounts/users are:

    Malta 44.7 accounts requested per 100,000 Facebook users/accounts

    Cameroon 38.9

    United States 12.3

    Italy 9.9

    Germany 8.2

    United Kingdom 7.0

    India 6.6

    France 6.2

    New Zealand 5.3

    1. Furbian

      Re: Statistics, etc..

      Useless stats, of the per 100k of population you'd be surprised how many toddlers can't use electronic devices. Under 13's (the bulk of the population in poorer countries) aren't even meant to have facebook accounts, assuming that they have access to internet in the first place.

      More useful would have been be what proportion of internet users (or better still facebook users) have had their data requested by a government agency.

      India has an internet penetration of just 13% (152m) whereas the UK's is 87% (54m users).


      1. Amonynous


        "More useful would have been be what proportion of internet users (or better still facebook users) have had their data requested by a government agency."

        What, like the second half of my post above, where I said "Similarly, the top ten requestors per 100,000 Facebook accounts/users are:...." ?

        In future I suggest you read the entire post before flaming it, otherwise you just end up looking stupid.

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Have an up vote and a beer for your work. (Which, unfortunately, should have been done by El Reg...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      El Reg can't do that. Their eager and productive reporters shun Facebook completely to spend time getting to the heart of all things electronic for you and yours. They don't waste time LOL'ing and planning their weekend online. They work diligently, with pride and a sense of excellence.

      Stout hearts of English oak exist in every El Reg reporter. Well, except those from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, of course. ;)

      1. Gannon (J.) Dick
        Thumb Up

        Very inspiring

        Thank you Andrew.

        You didn't explain how Scots read with English Oak heads, am I to presume a sequel ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's not forget.

    These are info requests they can acknowledge. Any requests through FISA carry a gag order and cannot be reported. So expect the published numbers to be a little higher.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Let's not forget.

      Or possibly just one (1) request: For everything else the other orders didn't cover.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've never regretted not having a FB account; but have had cause to be grateful many times.

    Here's yet another reason:

  6. Chris G

    A spokesman said

    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 blah blah blah.

    And how stringent are the rules governing access to data requests from paying customers?

    1. Nearly Anonymous

      Re: A spokesman said

      They do have FAQ and guidelines pages linked from the report which almost answer your (and my) thoughts. However, in my rough paraphrase, FB does their level best, honest, to scrutinize every single one of the ~30k account requests (over six months) for legal liability, and we reserve the right to do as we please to the extent we don't anger any clients, er, governments. Oh, and we may charge you shipping and handling fees, or not, depends on how we feel we can get away with.

      Hm, I was able to access the page without logging in to FB. Wonder why El Reg claimed otherwise.

  7. Potemkine Silver badge

    What could expect FB users?

    Respect of their privacy? Muahahahaha

  8. Darkwolf


    An interesting note however:

    "In 79 per cent of cases, cops lawfully accessed some data from the network."

    So does that mean that 21 percent of the time cops unlawfully accessed some data from the network?

  9. Cloud_Craig

    The high number of requests by the major democracies is proof that your rights are respected.

    In Russia they lock you up first; then, if they feel like it, they will investigate if there is a reason why you are locked away.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In keeping with the Facebook system, can't we just have a notification appear with something like:

    "The NSA has just accessed your information.".

  11. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Why not just send .....

    ..... a friend invite? Seeing as I seem to be the only person who doesn't use FB as a competition to see how many fake friends I can have this seems a much easier option of digging dirt up on someone.

  12. James 47

    British law?

    I thought facebook was subject to irish law, or something? Wasn't there a previous story about a company refusing to be served papers because the local law didn't apply to them... Or something...

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