Social Media site Facebook has revealed that the Ugandan government is among the 74 countries that requested for user account information in the first six months of 2013.

Facebook boss Mark  Zuckerberg
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg

The requests are made under the dockets of national security and criminal investigations by Governments. In a first release of the Global Government Requests Report, Facebook’s general Counsel Colin Stretch noted that the release of the report is aimed at helping the on-going global debate about proper standards for governments around the world to access user information.

The list put out by Facebook shows Uganda was among the five African governments that requested for user information to conduct official investigations.

However Facebook declined to disclose the data of the users that government had requested for. Facebook has a stringent legal process for governments to access user data which involves detailed information of a legal basis and factual evidence for each request.

The report comes just months after Security Minister Muruli Mukasa revealed that government was in the final stages of setting up a social media monitoring unit to follow social media discussions and weed out people damaging the reputation of government and its officials.

Five African countries made the list with South Africa leading at 14 requests, Egypt with 8 requests, Ivory Coast with 4 requests, Botswana with 3 requests and Uganda with one request.

Efforts to get the government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo to comment on the report were futile as his known numbers were switched off.

Other countries mentioned by the release were United States that topped the list of countries requesting for over 12,000 user accounts information. Facebook said the list was their first but will not be the last and hopes to release more detailed reports in future.

Additional Reporting by URN

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