India asks for record access to FB users’ data in 2020 1st half

The requests by the Indian government to seek access to Facebook users’ data further increased in the first six months of this year, second only to the US government, the social networking giant has revealed.

In total, India requested Facebook to provide data in 35,560 cases in the January-June 2020 period — significantly up from 26,698 queries about users’ data in the second half of 2019.

Facebook provided data in 50 per cent of the requests, according to its latest biannual Transparency Report.

“We have strict guidelines in place to deal with all government data requests,” Facebook said in a statement late on Thursday.

There were a total of 33,374 legal requests and 2,186 emergency requests from India.

There was also an increase in the Indian government’s request to preserve account information too, pending the receipt of formal legal process.

In the January-June 2020 period, India asked for 4,100 accounts to be preserved, from 2,500 account requests in earlier reported periods.

Globally, during the first six months of 2020, the government requests for user data increased by 23 per cent from 1,40,875 to 1,73,592.

“Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the largest number of requests, followed by India, Germany, France, and the UK,” Facebook said.

In the US, Facebook received 61,528 requests, an increase of 20 per cent compared to the second half of 2019.

During this reporting period, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally 40 per cent from 15,826 to 22,120.

The increase was in part related to Covid-related restrictions.

“In the first half of 2020, we identified 52 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 45 disruptions in six countries in the second half of 2019,” the company said.

During this reporting period, Facebook took down 37,16,817 pieces of content based on 6,59,444 copyright reports; 4,04,078 pieces of content based on 1,66,310 trademark reports; and 13,08,834 pieces of content based on 97,186 counterfeit reports.