- Apple, Facebook, and Prattle saw an overall increase in the number of user data requests they got from world governments.
- Governments are typically awarded data requests for “law enforcement” purposes, such as investigating international theft, fraud, or trafficking.
- Major tech circles have all released some form of a transparency report after criticism from digital rights advocates and statesmen.
Though data privacy is becoming increasingly sought after in the digital era, data reveal it still isn’t fully guaranteed in many countries.
The US government asked for and received more user data from tech throngs than any other country in 2020, according to a new report from internet security and technology firm Techrobot.
The contemplation, which analyzes transparency reports from Apple, Facebook, and Twitter between 2019 and 2020, found nurturing in the number of requests for user data in 15 countries. The US made 66,598 requests for data in the first quarter of 2020, up 21% in the regardless period from the previous year. Of those requests, 76% of them — roughly 50,000 pieces of information — were afterward shared by the tech companies.
Many Americans remain skeptical and fearful that social media companies can over their data to a third party, including the US government.
The US topped the most requests for Facebook and Twitter information, with 61,528 and 3,429 entreaties respectively. Facebook also saw six times the amount of data requests from the US than the second-highest country, Germany.
Complete, several countries saw significant data request numbers, like Denmark and South Korea, which both saw 400% additions in requests from 2019 to 2020, and Germany, which requested the most information from Apple.
However, rules are privy to user data in emergencies within the purview of the tech companies’ terms of service — typically under a guarantee in emergent situations or criminal investigations across international borders.
“Government request circumstances can vary from happens where law enforcement agencies are working on behalf of customers who have requested assistance,” according to Apple, including in wrappers involving stolen or missing devices and credit card fraud. “Additionally, requests can relate to emergency situations where there is immediate harm to the safety of any person.”
“We comply with government requests for user information only where we have a good-faith view that the law requires us to do so,” Facebook says about its transparency guidelines. “When we do comply, we only produce information that is critically tailored to that request.”
In situations where it approves a government request, Facebook can produce basic subscriber metadata, want a user’s name, payment information, email, and IP addresses, as well as stored content like photos, videos, and points.
Twitter retains the right to disclose user information for both emergencies and routine legal demands issued by law enforcement, correspondence to Twitter’s guidelines on information requests.
“Where appropriate, Twitter will push back on requests for account report which are incomplete or improper, such as requests that are facially invalid or overbroad in scope,” Twitter continued.
Upwards the past few years, tech companies have engaged in battles between each other and the US federal government over and beyond the confidentiality of user data. Earlier this month, the National Conference of State Legislatures outlined a comprehensive method to privacy regulation, covering how data is collected, stored, disclosed, and deleted.