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Facebook and Microsoft reveal the number of data security requests made by the Government

Facebook and Microsoft have officially revealed the number of security data requests made by the Government organizations.

A few days back, the world was shocked with the news of the existence of the PRISM program which collected emails, videos and other personal data directly from the tech companies. And in order to restore the confidence of their users, Facebook and Microsoft with the permission of the Government have disclosed the number of security data requests made by all the Government organizations.

facebook data security

In a blog post published yesterday, Microsoft executives revealed that the US Government made 6000 to 7000 requests last year seeking information about certain details of users accounts. Similarly, Facebook published that it had received around 9000 to 10000 requests last year for user data.

With this information published, the companies seek to regain the trust of their customers after several leaks suggested that the companies handed over their personal information to the US Government. Microsoft has asserted on the fact that the number of requests made by the Government are only a fraction of the total user base of the company. What they mean to say is that the company does not give unrestricted access to their user’s personal information and hence, users need not worry about the security of their personal information.

Microsoft said that the data security warrants affected around 31000 to 32000 accounts and promised that they would reveal more information about data disclosure to the public soon.

In the blog post Microsoft explains,

“This only impacts a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base. We continue to believe that what we are permitted to publish continues to fall short of what is needed to help the community understand and debate these issues.”

Facebook too revealed that they granted 79% of the requests and the warrants affected around 18,000 to 19,000 accounts worldwide.

But they insist that the company does not entertain all the requests made by the government.

In the blog post made yesterday evening, Facebook’s general counsel, Ted Ullyot added

“With more than 1.1 billion monthly active users worldwide, this means that a tiny fraction of one percent of our user accounts were the subject of any kind of U.S. state, local, or federal U.S. government request” during the six months. We hope this helps put into perspective the numbers involved and lays to rest some of the hyperbolic and false assertions in some recent press accounts about the frequency and scope of the data requests that we receive.”

Looks like both the companies are trying hard to clear off their names from this mess and have promised to reveal more information on their security data disclosure policies in the coming weeks.

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6 Comments

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  1. That makes sense in a perfect world.

    And I am one to feel I would support it, but it is hard to with recent news and when the politicians that support and govern it today were elected on ideas that they did not support it. A silly video but some truth here as refrence http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4SRCOouw5I.

    And recently it was released that NSA did listen to phone calls and read messages without warrants- after saying they did only investigate with warrants. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57589495-38/nsa-admits-listening-to-u.s-phone-calls-without-warrants/

    It’s tangled web.

  2. A manner which, incidentally, was perfectly legal (albeit confidential) and with quite a bit of precedent.

  3. It is not the quantity of information provided which makes it wrong rather the manner in which such information was sought and delivered by these renowned companies.

  4. @kelly tippett

    Well if you have you have nothing to hide about your internet activity you will never get one of these request for data from Facebook or Google. The US Government only send these request when people are being investigated. They must show valid proof that they need the data before these companies hand it over.

  5. Am I reading this right? Google and facebook are saying it is ok that they gave over information, private info to governemnt, and that facebook and google feel it is okay because it was only from a small portion of PEOPLE. 32000 affected is not small. That is 32,000 people not numbers. I can’t write straight right now. I must be reading this wrong. So google and facebook feel it is okay and they support giving over private information because it is only a small number of their active users. 32,000. That’s a town’s worth of people. So we should shrug it off. No big deal, just 32,000 people. Each one of which could be any one of facebook’s or google’s users in the future. And the numbers could grow.

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