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Facebook data is sought to aid crime probes

LAW enforcement agencies in the UK made nearly 2000 requests for data on Facebook users in the last six months of 2013, according to results published by the social network.

Between July and December 2013, there were 1906 requests submitted to ­Facebook for user data related to criminal cases.

These requests affected 2277 different accounts, and Facebook announced that more than 70% of these requests saw some data produced.

"We respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases. Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague," said the report.

Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, said: "When we receive a government request seeking to enforce those laws, we review it with care, and, even where we conclude that it is legally sufficient, we only restrict access to content in the requesting country.

"We do not remove content from our service entirely unless we determine that it violates our community standards. We take a similar approach to government requests for account information. When we receive a request for information, we carefully assess whether we are legally required to comply."

Facebook was one of a host of companies, including Apple and Google, that last year created the Reform Government Surveillance scheme, which set out to increase transparency and accountability when it comes to online snooping by governments.

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