Law enforcement agencies across the world are bombarding tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft with thousands of requests for customer data every week, insiders revealed at a private security briefing in London earlier in March.
The data requests ranged from online fraud to terrorist investigations but also revealed government overreach and pushback from tech companies. One global technology company was presented with a demand to hand over the names and addresses of 58 million users of a single app by a government trying to trace a suspected terrorist cell plotting a suicide bomb attack.
The users of the unnamed app doubled the population of the country making the request, which was rejected, according to a security expert from the company, who was speaking at the International Communications Data and Digital Forensics event in March. The event saw major Silicon Valley firms talking with major law enforcement bodies from the U.S. and the U.K. about how they can work together. It was held under Chatham House Rules, press were not permitted entry and guests were allowed in by invitation only. Forbes isn’t revealing the names of the speakers or their employers.
Chris Calabrese, vice president of policy at digital rights body the Center for Democracy & Technology, described the 58 million request as “astonishing” and “unusual.”
“There are a lot of over broad requests here and it seems like it makes sense they pushed back,” he added, talking about other cases revealed during the event. “We’re glad they’re doing this… There’s so much info out there about all of us and we’re really relying on third parties to push back for us.”