US government issued 135 requests for LinkedIn member data

Counting a 500 million member community from 200 countries in 2017, LinkedIn collects a large amount of data about its users. And governments would also like access to that data.

The social network has reported receiving 150 government requests for information from July to December 2016, affecting 373 accounts, according to its Transparency Report.

LinkedIn processed 73 percent of the requests, affecting 211 member accounts. Most were received from the US government (135) for 345 accounts, followed by Brazil with 4 requests for 5 accounts, India with 3 government requests for 3 accounts and China with one request for 13 accounts. LinkedIn processed 74 percent of requests for the US, 75 percent for Brazil, and China’s lone request. Requests made by India were rejected.

“The number of requests received is relatively flat compared to the prior reporting period (145 total requests worldwide in the first half of 2016, versus 150 for the second half of the year),” said Sara Harrington, VP of legal, intellectual property, product and privacy at LinkedIn. “However, there continues to be a noticeable uptick in the number of accounts affected, on average, by an individual request. This imbalance is one we’ll continue to monitor closely, along with the ongoing trend of requests accompanied by nondisclosure (“gag”) orders.”

LinkedIn maintains that digital data is protected by the Fourth Amendment in the US and the company does not provide any government with user data prior to receiving members’ consent, “except in those cases when applicable law or a court order prohibits us from providing notice, or in certain emergencies.”

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