Google reveals surge in US user data and takedown requests

Google updated its Government Requests tool today with new data from January to June 2011 that reveal the number of user information and takedown requests the company receives from government and law enforcement agencies around the globe. It's also the first time that Google has released the number of users or accounts specified per request.

The service is part of Google's Transparency Report initiative that attempts to provide metrics on how government policies affect online communication. The update reveals a surge in the number of user data requests and takedown requests in the US. Requests for user data has increased 29 percent from the previous reporting period, while requests for content removal has increased by 70 percent.

During this latest reporting period, Google complied with about 93 percent of the 5,590 user account information requests it received in the US, involving more than 11,000 users or accounts related to a criminal investigation. Google also complied with 63 percent of the 92 requests it received to remove 757 items. Two of those requests that Google denied taking down, include a police brutality video on YouTube and videos that allegedly defamed officials.

Google has recently released the raw data behind the requests and is allowing developers or researchers to use the data for visualization. The company is also advocating that it's time to modernize laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that regulates government access to user information.

[via PC Mag]