Indian government's requests for Facebook user data up 18% in H2 2019

Indian government's requests for Facebook user data up 18% in H2 2019
Photo Credit: Reuters
13 May, 2020

Requests for Facebook data by the Indian government increased by almost 18% in the July-December 2019 period compared to the first half of the year.

The country is once again second only to the US on Facebook user data requests.

According to the social media giant’s latest transparency report, requests for user data by the governments went up by 9.5% in the July-December 2019 period globally.

A total of 26,698 requests were made by India in the said period for 39,664 users or accounts and some data was produced in 57% cases, the report said. This is the Indian government’s all-time high data requests from Facebook from 3,245 requests during the first six months of 2013 when the platform first started releasing the data. 

The highest number of requests came from the US with 51,121 requests for 82,321 users accounts, and some data was produced in 88% of the cases.

In its report for the first half of 2019, Facebook had received a total of 128,617 requests from governments between January and June. US government topped the list with 50,471 requests, followed by India at 22,684 requests. 

In the second half of 2019, government requests for user data increased from 1,28,617 to 1,40,875 globally. 

The UK, Germany and France followed the US and India in the tally.

"As always, we scrutinise every government request we receive to make sure it is legally valid, no matter which government makes the request. If a request appears deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary. We do not provide governments with "back doors" to people's information," the report said.

Among the 26,698 requests by the government, 1,754 were emergency requests, which were prioritised by the government while the rest were related to legal processes.

During July-December 2019, the volume of content restrictions based on local laws decreased by 11% from 17,807 to 15,826 globally. Of the total, Russia, Pakistan and Mexico accounted for almost half of global content restrictions. India saw 841 pieces of content being restricted in the same period.

During the second half of 2019, Facebook also witnessed around 50 instances of internet disruptions affecting 11 countries. India topped the list with 40 disruptions. The total duration of these outages affecting Facebook services was 36 weeks, 6 days and 9 hours. Other countries which made it to the list were Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Myanmar, Sudan and Swaziland.