Facebook is pretty much in the business of collecting data on its users, and sometimes this is data that governmental organisations want to look at for the sake of homeland security.
Colin Stretch, general counsel for Facebook, writes that “since last summer [Facebook has] been advocating for the right to provide additional transparency about the national security-related requests we receive. With last week’s announcement that the U.S. government has relaxed its limitations on what we are allowed to disclose, we are now permitted to provide important new information that we believe will help foster an informed public debate about the government’s efforts to keep the public safe.”
In the name of transparency, the company has released the chart below. It offers only a range of numbers instead of precise data, but it reveals that since July 1, 2012, the government has requested data on somewhere between 9,000 and 10,998 user accounts.
Believe it or not, this is as specific information as Facebook is legally allowed to provide in keeping with governmental regulations. The company plans to update the public in this arena every six months.
Writes Stretch: “We will continue to advocate for reform of government surveillance practices around the world, and for greater transparency about the degree to which governments seek access to data in connection with their efforts to keep people safe.”