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Facebook rejects Egypt government requests

Facebook’s first Global Government Requests Report reveals that Egypt’s government had asked for information about 11 users.
The report covers the first 6 months of 2013, ending June 30, meaning that these requests were made during the regime of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Such requests are usually sent on an investigative criminal or national security background.

Egypt had sent a total of eight requests, requesting data for a total of 11 users. Facebook did not comply with the requests. The social network did not refer to Egypt’s particular case, but it generally stated that “We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests.”

So it seems that Egypt’s requests did not have efficient legal bases for fulfillment.

All in all, three Middle Eastern countries asked Facebook for user data: Qatar, Israel and Turkey. Qatar’s 3 requests about 3 users were not processed, whereas 47% of Turkey’s 96 requests about 170 users were responded to. Israel asked 113 times for data on 132 users, 50% of which were processed.

The United States sent in the largest number of requests, reaching 11,000 – 12,000 requests concerning 20,000 – 21,000 users – and 79% of them were accepted and processed.

Facebook concludes its report by stating: “Government transparency and public safety are not mutually exclusive ideals. Each can exist simultaneously in free and open societies, and they help make us stronger. We strongly encourage all governments to provide greater transparency about their efforts aimed at keeping the public safe, and we will continue to be aggressive advocates for greater disclosure.”