Facebook confirms US govt. requested surveillance data


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote during the Facebook f8 Developer Conference at the San Francisco Design Center in San Francisco on September 22, 2011 in California.


Kimihiro Hoshino

Facebook has confirmed that it received between 9,000-10,000 requests for user data from the United States government in the second half of 2012 alone. 

The company said the disclosure comes after extensive negotiations with US national security authorities, who would not allow the company to specify which requests were made by the National Security Agency.

Reuters reported Facebook was among a select number of Internet companies that were able to release "limited information" about the number of surveillance requests they have received.

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Ted Ullyot, Facebook general counsel, explained on Facebook's blog that the company has been in discussions with US national security authorities since the story of NSA's surveillance program PRISM first broke. And that the requests came from various parts of the government, including local, state, and federal authorities:

These requests run the gamut – from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a police department investigating an assault, to a national security official investigating a terrorist threat.

For that six month period, Ullyot said that data was pulled from 18,000-19,000 Facebook users accounts.