Facebook says PH gov't sought data from 42 of its users

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Facebook says it is investing heavily in security going forward, and increasing the number of people working on security from 10,000 to 20,000.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — Facebook released a report on Thursday revealing that the Philippine government requested the data from 42 users of the social media website in the first six months of the year.

There were 31 total data requests from the Philippine government to access Facebook data this year, with 22 of them considered emergency requests and nine requests are for legal processes. A request may cover more than one user.

The bi-annual Facebook Transparency Report showed that 48 percent of these requests have some, if not all, data produced. However, the report did not specify the users involved.

A request for data is considered an emergency if it involves "imminent risk of serious physical injury or death."

Total requests for data from January to June 2018 went down from the 36 in July to December 2017. Of those requests, 44 percent of them had data produced.

In the first half of 2018, Facebook also received 135 "preservation requests" from the Philippine government which dealt with 189 accounts. Requests to preserve information are allowed pending the receipt of legal processes.

"Maintaining transparency around the nature and extent of the government requests we receive for user data, and how we make decisions about what content stays up or what comes down on Facebook, is really important to us," Facebook Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby said.

Sonderby, in a statement, said requests for account data increased globally by around 26 percent compared to the second half of 2017, up from 82,341 to 103,815 requests.

"We always scrutinize each government request we receive for account data to make sure it is legally valid. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary," he said.