Tech giants receive “thousands” of data requests

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Tech giants Facebook and Microsoft say they received *thousands* of requests for user data from the US government in the second half of last year.

Facebook says it had between nine and ten-thousand requests, targeting up to 19-thousand accounts.

A Facebook attorney says the requests included assistance finding missing children, tracking of federal fugitives, local crimes and even terrorist threats.

Facebook says a tiny fraction of its more than one-billion users were affected.

Microsoft says it received between six and seven-thousand similar warrants, subpeonas and orders, affecting up to 32-thousand consumer accounts.

Both companies say they released the information with permission from the government.

Friday night’s announcements come as government surveillance online is under heavy scrutiny, following leaks of data mining and spying by the national security agency.

The Obama administration has defended the practice, saying the top-secret program is legal and has prevented terrorist attacks.

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