The end of the year is nearing, and information related to government abuses of power has started pouring in.
Based on Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report, government’s requests for Facebook account information rose 27 percent in the first half of 2016.
Facebook’s official announcement revealed that requests for user information went from 46,710 in the last half of 2015 to 59,229 in the first half of 2016. At least 56 percent of these requests, Facebook included, “contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user.”
Law enforcement agencies from across the world, Facebook continued, often send restriction requests demanding Facebook get rid of content from its forums. On the plus side, these requests dropped substantially this year, from 55,827 in the last half of 2015 to 9,663 in 2016 – an 87 percent drop. Most of the 2015 requests revolved around “French content restrictions of a single image from the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks.”
Furthermore, Facebook utilized its report to reveal for the first time what the company does when law enforcement agencies request “snapshots” of a user account that could be relevant to law enforcement for undisclosed purposes.
These “preservation requests,” as they are recognized, are requests to “preserve data pending receipt of formal legal process.” They are often processed by the social media website as snapshots, which are stored temporarily. Based on Facebook, the company does not “disclose any of the preserved records unless and until we receive formal and valid legal process.” In the first half of 2016, Facebook received 38,675 preservation requests regarding 67,129 accounts, a shocking number of requests.
Additionally, Facebook was adamant it does not give law enforcement any “back doors” to user data. Adding that requests are only satisfied if they meet legal requirements or “legal sufficiency,” as Facebook puts it, they state to “apply a rigorous approach to every government request [they] receive to protect the information of the people who use [their] services,” the company included. But this demanding approach is not rigorous enough if “reforms” created to prevent privacy overreach in America basically don’t go far enough.
Take the USA Freedom Act, for example. The 2015 law was once backed by libertarian-leaning congressmen like Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). Later, nevertheless, Amash criticized the bill after changes giving government more power were implemented.
Talking about the new rule by name, Facebook included that “as a result of transparency reforms introduced this year by the USA Freedom Act, our report also contains additional information concerning National Security Letters (NSLs).” NSLs are “extraordinary search procedures” that give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the power to “compel the disclosure of customer records held by banks, telephone companies, Internet Service Providers, and others.” They are astonishing because in depth data can be surrendered without appropriate oversight, an problem that has led to countless instances of abuse.
While NSLs are still being applied, the gag order associated with the procedure has transformed. At this point, “the government goes to court to justify the gag order only if an NSL recipient notifies the FBI of its desire for judicial review in the first place.” While the government bears “the burden of immediately going to court and proving its necessity,” NSLs give the FBI the capability to bypass this crucial step.
Detailing that “the government lifted a gag requirement on one NSL issued in the second half of 2015,” the company chose to publish it. It’s blurry sure how many other NSLs Facebook has gotten.
Facebook might swear to “apply a rigorous approach to every government request” that comes its way, but rigor might only be practiced within the boundaries of U.S. law. If the law fails to safeguard the user’s privacy by permitting agencies to utilize “extraordinary” methods, your information is never protected, no matter how well-meaning companies like Facebook declare to be.
Based on Facebook, other government requests relating to “imminent risk of serious injury or death” are also granted on a regular basis. At least 3,016 of these requests were produced in the first half of 2016. They targeted 4,192 accounts.
Search warrants were generated in only 13,742 cases of request for information while only 781 others were backed by court orders.
These People Are A Danger To Themselves And Others! Wake Up!!!!!!
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