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India 2nd to US in asking Facebook for user data in H2 2020

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) India with 40,300 requests was second to the US in terms of asking Facebook to provide user data in the second half of 2020, and the social network restricted access in India to 878 items in response to directions from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

The restricted access was due to violating Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, including content against security of the state and public order.

“Of these, 10 were restricted temporarily. We also restricted access to 54 items in compliance with court orders,” Facebook said on Wednesday in its latest Transparency Report for the July-December period in 2020.

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Although Facebook did not reveal the nature of the requests from the Indian government, the second half of 2020 saw massive farmers’ protests across the country against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament in September 2020.

Facebook also said that in response to an order from Justice Alexandre de Moraes of Brazil’s Supreme Court related to 12 profiles and Pages of supporters of Brazilian President Bolsonaro, it restricted access globally to this content, including in India.

“While we respect the law in countries where we operate, we strongly oppose extraterritorial legal demands such as the one resulting in these restrictions, and have actively pursued all options to appeal the order. As of May 19, 2021, our appeal to the Brazilian Supreme Court’s full bench is pending,” Facebook informed.

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In total, Facebook provided some data to India in 52 per cent of the requests made.

Facebook said it always scrutinises every government request it receives “to make sure it is legally valid, no matter which government makes the request”.

Globally, government requests for user data increased 10 per cent from 173,592 to 191,013 in the second half of 2020.

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Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the largest number of requests, followed by India, Germany, France, Brazil and the UK.

During this reporting period, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally 93 per cent from 22,120 in H1 2020 to 42,606 in H2 2020, driven mainly by increases in requests from the UK, Turkey and Brazil.

“In the last half of 2020, we identified 91 disruptions of Facebook services in 18 countries, compared to 52 disruptions in nine countries in the first half of 2020,” said Facebook.

During this reporting period, Facebook took down 4,302,992 pieces of content based on 875,421 copyright reports, 584,088 pieces of content based on 310,418 trademark reports and 1,440,415 pieces of content based on 112,660 counterfeit reports.

We also proactively removed 11,992,599 pieces of content for copyright reasons and 338,461,290 pieces of content for counterfeit reasons.

–IANS

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