Facebook has reported an almost three-fold jump in the number of content pieces to which it restricted access in India. From 5,832 in the second half of 2014, the number of pieces taken down rose to 15,155 in the first half of 2015, the most for any country, according to the Global Government Requests Report, released on November 11 as part of Facebook’s “broader effort to reform government surveillance in countries around the world by providing more transparency”.
The content taken down was reported primarily by law enforcement agencies and the India Computer Emergency Response Team within the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology because the content was anti-religious and hate speech that could cause unrest and disharmony within India.
5,115: Number of requests for data from the Indian government concerning a total of 6,268 accounts. Some data was produced in at least 45 per cent of the cases.
41,214: Number of government requests for account data across all countries. It marked an 18% increase from 35,051 requests in 2014.
112%: Increase in content restrictions globally. The amount of content restricted for violating local law increased from 9,707 to 20,568 pieces of content.
* A Facebook newsroom post said the report, “which covers the first half of 2015, provides information about the number of government requests we receive for data, as well as the number of pieces of content restricted for violating local law in countries around the world where we provide service”. The report includes updated information about national security requests received from US authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and through National Security Letters.
* Facebook reiterated that it does not provide any government with “back doors” or direct access to people’s data. “We scrutinise each request we receive for legal sufficiency, whether from an authority in the US, Europe, or elsewhere. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary,” the post by Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby added.
* The Global Government Requests Report has over the last two years been a regular exercise by Facebook. “To protect people’s information, we will continue to apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms,” the post added.