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Facebook Says Governments Are Asking It to Hand Over More User Data

Governments in the U.S. and abroad are increasingly asking Facebook to hand over private data on its users, according to a new company report. Facebook revealed Tuesday that it received nearly 35,000 data requests for user information from governments around the world in the first six months of this year. That’s up about 24 percent since the last half of 2013. Forty-four percent of the requests came from U.S. federal, state and local government agencies. “As we’ve said before, we scrutinize every government request we receive for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests,” Chris Sonderby, Facebook deputy general counsel, wrote in a blog post.

By far the largest single batch of requests over the past year came from a court in New York, which ordered Facebook to turn over nearly all data from the accounts of nearly 400 people as part of an investigation into suspected Social Security disabilities benefits fraud. Sonderby said Facebook is appealing the order to a higher court.

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