MENLO PARK, Calif. Facebook's top attorney says after a week of negotiations with national security officials, the company is allowed to make new revelations about government orders for user data.}
General Counsel Ted Ullyot said in a statement Friday that Facebook is only allowed to talk about total numbers, but is lobbying to reveal more, and the permission received is still unprecedented.
Following the guidelines, Ullyot says Facebook received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests from government entities in the last six months of 2012, on subjects from missing children to terrorist threats.
"With more than 1.1 billion monthly active users worldwide," said Ullyot, "this means that a tiny fraction of one percent of our user accounts were the subject of any kind of U.S. state, local, or federal U.S. government request (including criminal and national security-related requests) in the past six months. We hope this helps put into perspective the numbers involved, and lays to rest some of the hyperbolic and false assertions in some recent press accounts about the frequency and scope of the data requests that we receive."
In a rare alliance, Facebook, Google and Microsoft Corp. are pressuring the Obama administration to loosen their legal gag on government surveillance orders.
The companies are seeking to distance themselves from the Internet dragnet code-named "PRISM" revealed in leaks last week.