Big brother is alive and well in Britain it seems after new data revealed that men and women in the UK are placed under more surveillance than those living in countries such as Russia, Serbia and Uganda.

Facebook has published its first Transparency Report which tracks the amount of requests for personal data that the governments demand about their citizens in the first 6 months of this year.

Unsurprisingly, the US – home of the NSA – topped the list and asked for data on over 21,000 users. India came second and requested data on 4,144 users, while Britain demanded the details of 2,337 users.

However, Facebook claim that not all of these requests were granted. The tech giant, which itself has been involved in surveillance rows, claimed that it only handed over information in 79 per cent of US requests, half of India’s requests and 69 per cent of the demands from the UK.

Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel said in the report: “We believe this process protects the data of the people who use our service, and requires governments to meet a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users.

“We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests.”

The governments in Bulgaria, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Japan made the lowest number of requests with a total of just one request being made in each of those respective countries, over the last 6 months.

Surprisingly, Russia – which is thought to be a dictatorship in all but name by many people – made just one data request from the social media corporation.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy watchdog Big Brother Watch said that the findings unveiled in the report are a cause for concern.

He said: “It is absurd that we learn more about Government surveillance from Microsoft, Google and Facebook than our own authorities. It is particularly concerning that 32 per cent of requests did not result in any data being provided, yet in theory these requests had been signed off as ‘necessary and proportionate’ by the police force making the request.

“Given recent debate about both the police’s ability to access data and the scale of surveillance being carried out by intelligence agencies, transparency is the only way to ensure that Parliament can make an informed choice about new legislation and the public can have confidence powers are being used properly.”

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