In the second half of 2014, Facebook received more than 14,200 requests for user data from law enforcement in the U.S.
The tech giant revealed Monday that at least “some data” was produced for nearly 80 percent of the 14,274 data requests tallied from July through December. Data requests during that period were for information belonging to 21,731 Facebook users.
Of note, more than half of the total law enforcement requests (7,924) were via search warrants, meaning a judge issued a court order for the data based on findings of probable cause in a criminal case. Nearly a third of the government requests (4,638) made use of subpoenas, Facebook revealed on its website where it published the government requests report.
For requests made with search warrants, 84 percent of the demands resulted in some information being turned over, whereas investigators with subpoenas received data 71 percent of the time, the report said.
In a weekend news release, Facebook's Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert and Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby said that, in comparison to the first half of 2014, the number of global government requests for user data remained “relatively flat.” In total, the company received 35,051 data requests from governments worldwide – a slight increase from the 34,946 requests received in the first half of 2014.
“There was an increase in data requests from certain governments such as India, and decline in requests from countries such as the United States and Germany,” the two noted.
According to Facebook's previous transparency report, there were 15,433 U.S. law enforcement requests for data in the first half of 2014, which were associated with 23,667 user accounts.
“We publish this information because we want people to know the extent and nature of the requests we receive from governments and the policies we have in place to process them,” Bickert and Sonderby said. “Moving forward, we will continue to scrutinize each government request and push back when we find deficiencies. We will also continue to push governments around the world to reform their surveillance practices in a way that maintains the safety and security of their people while ensuring their rights and freedoms are protected.”