28 Aug 2013

NZ made 106 requests for Facebook data

10:10 pm on 28 August 2013

Government agencies in New Zealand made 106 requests for information on Facebook users in the first half of this year.

The social networking company has released figures on how often governments seek information about its customers.

It says New Zealand made 106 requests for information on a total of 119 Facebook users in the six months to the end of June.

Facebook says it produced some data for 58% of those requests.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says it is alarming, and an example of Government spying on New Zealanders.

Acting Police Minister Chester Borrows says it is absolutely acceptable for police to request information from Facebook and it would be negligent of them not to do so. Mr Borrows says there are a number of reasons why authorities might have requested information.

"I would assume that in the course of incidents such as youth suicide for instance, bullying allegations that have led to assaults or other sorts of crimes, there may well be evidence on Facebook that they're looking for and you know, I'd be making those requests as well."

Facebook says government agencies in 74 countries demanded information on 37,954 to 38,954 Facebook users during that six-month period.

The United States made 11,000 to 12,000. involving between 20,000 and 21,000 Facebook accounts.

The company says governments can make requests seeking account information in official investigations such as criminal robbery cases or kidnappings.