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Government Requests For Facebook User Data Rise Sharply

April 28, 2016, 7:07 PM UTC
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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., speaks at the Samsung Electronics Co. Unpacked launch event ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. Mobile World Congress, an annual phone-industry event organized by GSMA Ltd., runs from Feb 22 to Feb 25. Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Pau Barrena — Bloomberg via Getty Images

(Reuters) – Facebook said on Thursday that government requests for account data increased by 13% in the second half of 2015, with the United States and India topping the list.

Government requests for account data increased to 46,763 from 41,214 in the first half of the year, the company said in a biannual report. The number of requests jumped 18% in the first half of the year.

Government access to personal data from telephone and Internet companies has become a bone of contention since former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified details of a program to collect bulk telephone metadata in 2013.

Governments often request basic subscriber information, IP addresses or account content, including people’s posts online.

Facebook has about 1.65 billion regular users, or about one in every four people in the world.

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Facebook said (FB) about 60% of requests in the United States had a non-disclosure order prohibiting the company from notifying the user of the government request.

This was the first time Facebook has included details on non-disclosure orders since it started issuing the global requests reports in 2013.