Facebook in dispute with Germany over data requests as part of criminal inquiries

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Facebook has found itself embroiled in a dispute with German state authorities following allegations that it did not cooperate with criminal investigations.

The social network has released a statement denying claims made by the country’s spy chief, and echoed by regional ministers, who are calling for a law to be passed regarding the handover of social media data.

Facebook insists that it provided “round-the-clock assistance” to authorities in the wake of a series of violent attacks in Munich, Wuerzburg, and Ansbach last month.

The social network’s transparency report calculates that it received a total of 16,000 information requests from Germany over the last three years. In 2015, Facebook produced data for 42 percent of requests from the country, in comparison to 54 percent in France and 82 percent in Britain, reports Reuters. German officials say this lack of compliance has to change, especially when inquires relate to terror suspects.

Speaking in regards to the proposed law, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the following to Deutsche Welle: “It has to ensure that these companies have foreign and domestic contact agents that can quickly process information requests.”

In its defense, Facebook claims that despite its efforts to work with German law enforcement agencies, it was still receiving incorrectly formulated requests from officials. “Along with our points of contact in law enforcement we work tirelessly to raise awareness of the correct procedures,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has come under fire for its alleged reluctance in handing over data to state authorities. In July, Israel’s security minister Gilad Erdan accused the company of “sabotaging” the work of the country’s police force due to its obstructive reporting policies. That same month, Facebook was sued by a group of Israeli and American citizens in a U.S. court for allegedly facilitating Palestinian militant attacks on their loved ones.


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