Facebook admits it provided user info to Turkish police
WASHINGTON - The Associated Press
This July 16, 2013 FILE photo, shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Government agents in 74 countries demanded information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of this year, with about half the orders coming from authorities in the United States, the company said Tuesday. AP photoData released by Facebook yesterday show that authorities in Turkey submitted 96 information requests covering 173 users, and that Facebook provided information in about 45 of those cases. However, there is no information as to what was turned over and why.
Facebook and Twitter have recently become known as organizing platforms and, as such, have become targets for governments. During the anti-government Gezi Park protests in Turkey this summer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described social media as “the worst menace to society.”
At the time, Facebook denied it had provided information about protest organizers to the Turkish government.
Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said the company stands by its assertions that it gave no information regarding the Turkey protests. “The data included in the report related to Turkey is about child endangerment and emergency law enforcement requests,” she said.
The social-networking giant is the latest technology company to release figures on how often governments seek information about its customers. Microsoft and Google have done the same.
Government agents in 74 countries demanded information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of this year, with about half the orders coming from authorities in the United States, the company said yesterday.
As with the other companies, it’s hard to discern much from Facebook’s data, besides the fact that, as users around the globe flocked to the world’s largest social network, police and intelligence agencies followed.
“We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests,” Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel company said in a blog post. “When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name.”
Facebook and other technology companies have been criticized for helping the National Security Agency secretly collect data on customers. Federal law gives government the authority to demand data without specific warrants, and while companies can fight requests in secret court hearings, it’s an uphill battle.
Facebook turned over some data in response to about 60 percent of those requests. The company said it planned to start releasing these figures regularly.