Google surveillance by governments increases

Nov 13, 2012
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Google surveillance by governments increases

The number of requests by governments for Google data has increased again, with the total number for the first half of this year coming in at 20,939. This marks a steady increase over the years, with requests back in 2009 coming in at only 12,539. Out of the over two dozen countries listed, the US clearly comes in with the highest number of requests at 7,969.

The next highest country on the list was India, coming in at 2,319, a considerable drop from the US's. Other countries with high request numbers included Brazil at 1,566, France at 1,546, Germany at 1,533, and the UK at 1,425. Not all user data requests were complied with, however, with some locations coming in at just 6-percent of requests being complied with. The US came in at 90-percent.

The information is available via Google's Transparency Report, which the company publishes twice a year, having started back in 2009. Some countries have high requests for the removal of content, particularly countries with strict laws about political speech and such. Brazil, for example, pushes through a high number of requests during elections for the removal of parodies about candidates, which is banned.

Google had to say on the matter, "This is the sixth time we've released this data, and one trend has become clear: government surveillance is on the rise." Further clarifying, the company's spokesperson told BBC, "It reflects laws on the ground. For example in Turkey there are specific laws about defaming public figures whereas in Germany we get requests to remove neo-Nazi content ... We hope that the report will shed light on how governments interact with online services and how laws are reflected in online behaviour."

[via BBC]


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