Dislike: Facebook admits to sharing personal information with governments 26,000 times in the first six months of 2013 - Watchdog.org
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Dislike: Facebook admits to sharing personal information with governments 26,000 times in the first six months of 2013

By   /   August 27, 2013  /   5 Comments

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

On Facebook, you can share posts and pictures with friends.

But at Facebook, they can (and do) share your posts and pictures and personal information with government agents all around the world.

Facebook released a report Tuesday detailing their level of involvement with government requests for data.  Since users willingly share so much about themselves on Facebook and other social media tools, it seems government agencies are looking to take advantage of the information – and Facebook is more than happy to comply.

THUMBS DOWN: Facebook willingly shares data with governments around the world.

THUMBS DOWN: Facebook willingly shares data with governments around the world.

“As we have said many times, we believe that while governments have an important responsibility to keep people safe, it is possible to do so while also being transparent,” said Colin Stretch, an attorney for the social networking mega-site.  “Government transparency and public safety are not mutually exclusive ideals.”

Stretch assured users that Facebook scrutinizes each request and maintains a “very high legal bar” that governments must clear before users’ private information is passed along.

Even so, the numbers are startling.

In total, Facebook received more than 26,000 separate requests for information about nearly 39,000 different accounts from 72 different national governments during the first six months of 2013.

And guess which country’s government made the most requests for information from Facebook – so many, in fact, that it is more than all other requests from all other national governments in the entire world, combined.

Go ahead, guess.

Here’s the chart of the top 10:

Facebook

It does raise some questions – like, if government surveillance is meant to stop terrorist attacks, are terrorists really posting “about to build a bomb” on their status updates?

Or, perhaps the government is collecting Facebook information for other reasons – particularly since we already know the Drug Enforcement Agency frequently gets “tips” from the National Security Agency and others (then lies about where those tips come from).

And Facebook’s willingness to share personal data with the governments of the world seems even stranger one week after Joe Sullivan, the company’s chief security officer, said “it is never acceptable to compromise the security or privacy of other people.

Of course in that instance he was talking about one user compromising another user’s privacy.  If Facebook is going to compromise everyone’s privacy at once, that must be better – somehow.

Now we really need that “dislike” button.

Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at [email protected].  Follow him on Twitter at @EricBoehm87

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Eric Boehm is the national regulatory reporter for Watchdog.org. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. His work has appeared in Reason Magazine, National Review Online, The Freeman Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Examiner and Fox News. He was once featured in a BuzzFeed listicle. Follow him on Twitter @EricBoehm87 and reach him at [email protected]

  • Sue Copeland

    UGH!

    1

  • Prospector69

    With the NSA looking at this and that. Operation Vigilant Eagle and a host of other government information collection programs, it is a wonder how the government has any time or resources to hunt/fight terrorist threats!
    Facebook has a high bar? If 5-10 in a year, yes, a high bar, but 21,000 means the bar is way to low. Surely, Facebook doesn’t think that they have 21,000 terrorist or criminals who have accounts with them. Get real!

  • FORREST OSBORN

    SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW; I HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THIS FOR OVER A YEAR NOW AND HAVE BEEN WARNING MY FELLOW AMERICANS ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S INTRUSIONS AND INVASIONS INTO OUR NETWORKING.

  • suzy000

    And Zuckerberg came out a month or so ago and told the American public that Facebook NEVER compromised privacy…nor participated with the NSA…a BIG liar!

  • AmericaRising1

    What the hell is this? It is time to get pissed off people,