Putrajaya ramps up request for Facebook users’ data in first half 2016


Source: The Malay Mail Online

Facebook’s latest Global Government Requests Report said Putrajaya has requested data for 35 users and accounts.

Facebook — AFP pic

Facebook — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — The Malaysian government has asked Facebook 19 times for data on its users in the first half of this year compared to just 13 requests in the previous half, a report has revealed.

The social media giant’s latest Global Government Requests Report said Putrajaya has requested data for 35 users and accounts, almost double from just 18 in the previous half.

Out of the 19 requests, 18 were for legal process. There was a single request on emergency matters.

Facebook said it has complied by giving Putrajaya 68.42 per cent of the data requested in that period.

Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby said the number of requests from governments worldwide has increased this year which was reflected in the twice annual report.

“Government requests for account data increased by 27 per cent globally compared to the last half of 2015, increasing from 46,710 to 59,229 requests,” he said in a press release.

Sonderby claimed this year’s report marked the first time they included information about requests governments made to preserve data on pending legal matters.

Malaysia earlier this year has made one request to preserve account records in connection with official criminal investigations for 90 days and also asked information about two user accounts.

Putrajaya however has not made any requests to have content restricted unlike in other countries like France and India where the governments have made 2,213 and 2,034 requests respectively.

Sonderby meanwhile stressed that every request made by governments goes through a “rigorous” process in order to protect Facebook users’ rights.

“We scrutinise each request for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request, and challenge those that are deficient or overly broad.

“We do not provide governments with ‘back doors’ or direct access to people’s information,” he said, adding that Facebook would continue to push governments to “reform surveillance” around the world.

In March, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Jailani Johari said the government had enlisted the aid of technology giants Facebook and Google in its domestic investigations of social media abuse cases.

The last year saw numerous cases of Facebook users in the country arrested and charged for alleged offensive postings against the monarchy and police.