The Canadian government is requesting more information about Canadian Facebook users than ever.
Government requests for Facebook account data jumped by almost 50 per cent in the first half of 2015 according to a report released Wednesday by the social media giant.
In the first half of 2015 the company reported 410 requests from the Canadian government concerning 508 accounts relating to “valid requests relating to criminal cases.” Facebook handed data over to the government 79 per cent of the time.
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This was a 47 per cent increase from 2014 when the government made 279 requests involving 355 accounts in the last half of 2014. During this period, Facebook complied with the requests 58 per cent of the time.
Looking at the global picture, Facebook said that requests for account data around the world jumped 18 per cent in the first half of 2015 to 41,214, up from 35,051 requests in the second half of 2014.
Facebook took down 20,568 posts and other pieces of content that violated local laws In the first half of 2015, more than doubling the number taken down in the second half of 2014.
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When Facebook is requested to take down content, it first analyzes the post to determine whether it violates local law and if so restricts access in that country or territory. For example, Holocaust denial or Nazi propaganda is illegal in Germany and the content will be restricted for accounts in that country.
Facebook says the majority of government requests regard criminal cases, and involve basic items like subscriber information, IP addresses or account content, including people’s posts online.
The report also found more than 60 per cent of government requests globally came from U.S. law enforcement agencies. U.S. agencies requested data from 26,579 accounts up from 21,731 accounts in the second half of 2014.
Security agencies accessing personal data from telecommunications companies became a controversial issue after Edward Snowden revealed several global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K and the U.S.