The sheer number of user data requests that tech biggies like Facebook and Google receive from US law enforcement agencies is currently a hot topic. Amid all the talk and concern, a new report, published by security and technology company Techrobot, asserts that the US government asked for more user data from tech giants, and received more of the same as well, than any other country in 2020.
The report claims that countries like France, the United Kingdom, and Japan lost out to the States in the number of user data requests made by their respective governments to tech giants like Facebook, Apple, and Twitter between 2019-20.
US Sent Most Requests to Facebook and Twitter, Germany Tops Apple List
The study was focused on 15 countries, and concluded that in the first quarter of 2020, requests made by the US stood at 66,598, seeing a rise of 21 percent year on year. And out of those, around 50,000 requests (about 76 percent) were complied to by the companies.
The country topped the requests lists for both, Twitter and Facebook, standing at 3,429 and 61,528 requests, respectively. In fact, the amount of requests noted by Facebook in the States was around six times that made by Germany, the second-highest country on the list. The European country also made the highest number of demands to iPhone-maker Apple.
Many countries saw a rise in the number of requests made to tech companies, with South Korea and Denmark both noting a whopping 400 percent increase.
Emergency and Regular Checks
World governments continue to hold the rights to demand user data from tech firms, usually under the clauses of terms of service. Criminal investigations, including those across international borders, and certain other emergent situations, typically warrant such requests.
Apple Inc. has said that the conditions under which the government seeks someone’s data can vary greatly, and usually differ from scenarios where law enforcement bodies are acting on behalf of consumers themselves. Facebook, on the other hand, asserts that it makes a point to adhere to the requests only if it believes that the request is justified by law. In such situations, it can produce data such as a user’s name, email, payment information, and IP addresses.
Twitter, meanwhile, has stated in its guidelines that it retains the rights to share user data if it is demanded in emergency situations, or even during regular legal demands. It does, however, “push back” on such requests which it considers to be improper or incomplete.
Source: Business Insider