Facebook and Microsoft Reveals How Many Data Requests They Received From The Government

Posted Jun 15, 2013

Facebook and Microsoft have both revealed how many data requests that they have received from the U.S. government.  Facebook received around 9,000-10,000 requests for data in the second half of last year.  Microsoft disclosed between 6,000-7,000 requests that implicated around 31,000 to 32,000 accounts.

Facebook Data Requests

Facebook’s data requests are based on issues that ranged from petty crimes all the way to terrorist threats.  Around 18,000-19,000 accounts were in question.  Facebook did not specify how often they complied with the requests.  Facebook general counsel Ted Ullyot said that the company aggressively protects user data.

“We frequently reject such requests outright, or require the government to substantially scale down its requests, or simply give the government much less data than it has requested. And we respond only as required by law,” said Ullyot.  “This is progress, but we’re continuing to push for even more transparency, so that our users around the world can understand how infrequently we are asked to provide user data on national security grounds.”

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that accusations against them around the PRISM surveillance program was outrageous.

The details about the PRISM program was first reported by The Guardian and The Washington Post.  Former Booz Allen analyst and CIA technical assistant Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the government.  The U.S. government launched a criminal investigation against Snowden as a result.  Snowden is currently hiding in Hong Kong.

Microsoft Data Requests

Microsoft said that ?the FBI and DOJ have given us permission to publish some additional data.?  Microsoft was only permitted to reveal the total volume of the national security orders including Foreign Surveillance Act (FISA) orders.

Microsoft revealed that for the first six months ended December 31, 2012, they received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas, and orders between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities including local, state, and federal.