Facebook for the first time provides user info to Bangladesh govt

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Themorningbellbd.com desk, April 29: The authorities of Facebook, for the first time, provided user information to the Bangladesh government on requests made during the June-July period last year.

According to Facebook Inc’s latest Government Request Report, Bangladesh had sought information on 31 users through 12 requests between July and December last year.

As per half-yearly report, the social network site authorities provided 16.67 percent of the information.

“We restricted access to four pieces of content alleged to violate local law regarding blasphemy, pursuant to a request from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission,” the report said.

This is the first time Facebook has provided any data to Bangladesh government since introducing the report in 2013.

Facebook blocked view options of four contents during the period following request from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, which argued that the contents hurt religious sentiment.

The authorities, however, did not disclose the names and contents of the users about whom information was given.

From early 2013 to 2015 June, Bangladesh requested information on 37 users but Facebook had not responded.

Facebook also did not respond to three other requests the government made between January and June 2015 for information concerning three users.

 Earlier a report published by Facebook on November 12, 2015 revealed Bangladesh government sought information about three accounts between January to June of the year, FB authority did not respond to the government.

During the first six months of 2014, Bangladesh government sought information of 17 users` accounts by seven requests. During last six months of the year, Bangladesh authority wanted to know about five accounts by five requests as well.

United States topped the list of data seekers, making 19,235 requests from 30,041 accounts in the second half of 2015. India and the UK secured the second and third position, with requests for data about 5,561 and 4,190 users/accounts respectively.

In its report Facebook provided country-wise statistics of government requests and its responses. The report is one of the chief indicators of government interest in the company’s data.

Facebook, however, publishes report in every six months. The report shows which countries requested to FB authority for what kind of information.

Earlier on November 18, 2015, the government blocked Facebook for 22 days following the murders of two foreign nationals and an attack on a police check post in an effort to cut off communication links among militants and terrorists.

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