BUSINESS

Facebook Transparency Report Shows Requests For Canadians' Data Have Soared 113%

11/12/2015 08:41 EST | Updated 11/12/2015 09:59 EST

Canadian government officials requested data on Facebook users 410 times in the first half of 2015, a 113-per-cent increase over two years.

That compares to 263 requests in the same period last year, and 192 requests in the first half of 2013.

Facebook’s latest transparency report also shows the social site is more likely to hand over the requested data than it was earlier. It complied with 78.8 per cent of requests in the latest reporting period, up from just 44 per cent two years earlier.

It’s unclear whether this is due to Facebook becoming more willing to share data, or whether law enforcement and other officials have changed how they go about requesting data.

“We respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases,” Facebook says in its transparency report. “Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are broad or vague.”

Still, the amount of government requests for Facebook data in Canada is considerably lower than in some other countries.

In the U.S., Facebook fielded 17,597 requests for data and handed over data in 79.9 per cent of cases. In the U.K., Facebook fielded 3,384 requests, and complied with 78 per cent.

Relative to population, the request rates in the U.S. and U.K. are more than four times the rate seen in Canada.