Here’s How Easy It Is for Cops to Get Your Facebook Data
by Ella Fassler
Posted April 8, 2021
Police can access everything from “pokes” to private Messenger data — and increasingly do. Although this sort of collaboration between Facebook and law enforcement is not common knowledge, the practice isn’t rare in the United States.
Over the last five years, U.S. government requests for Facebook data have more than tripled. In 2015, American police requested data from 56,620 separate accounts; 80,443 in 2016; 105,905 in 2017; 134,150 in 2018; and 164,782 in 2019. (Facebook provided law enforcement with data in 88% of cases in 2019, a 9% increase from 2013.)
By contrast, Canadian law enforcement requested data from just 4,901 accounts last year, and the practice is uncommon in Europe.
Since Facebook is oftentimes barred from informing users of law enforcement data requests because of the Stored Communications Act, a 1986 law that addresses disclosure of electronic communications, the full scope of activist targeting is impossible to know. More…