Google seeing more government requests than ever before

Nov 14, 2013
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Google seeing more government requests than ever before

Google released their latest Transparency Report today. This marks the eighth such report, with the seventh having come back in late-April. That last report brought mention of a record high number of government requests and this time around the report is arriving with a similar description. Details coming from Google point towards how "requests from governments for user information have increased by more than 100 percent." That is, from when Google began sharing these bi-annual reports in 2010.

Google also makes a point to let everyone know how, these numbers only include the requests they are allowed to publish. This time around the report includes request from January through June 2013 and the US government was leading the charge. There was a total of 25,879 requests for Google users' information globally -- of which 10,918 of those were from the US.

Looking at those 10,000 plus requests from the US government and we see that 68 percent were as a result of a subpoena with another 22 percent from warrants. The remaining of the bunch include 6 percent from other court orders, 2 percent from pen register orders and 1 percent from emergency disclosure requests. These details also mark the first time such details have appeared on one of these Transparency Reports.

Notably, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests are unable to be shared. Google makes this clear (as seen in the image sitting below) by saying this is information that the "US government contends we [they] cannot share." While this hasn't changed anything just yet, Google did bring a federal case to assert the right earlier in the year and more recently they have written a letter of support for two pieces of legislation currently proposed in the US Congress.

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Otherwise, looking at requests from outside the US and the numbers drop considerably. Falling in the number two spot was India with 2,691 requests. Then rounding out the top five was Germany, France and the UK with 2,311, 2,011 and 1,274 respectively. Lastly, looking further down the line there was Brazil, Italy, Spain, Australia and Poland. And of those, only Brazil had a number greater than 1,000.

SOURCE: Official Google Blog


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