Google cites an increase in governments demanding citizen data

24 Jan 2013

Google’s latest transparency report has shown a steady increase in government and law agency requests around the world for their citizens’ data.

The report reveals that 68pc of requests Google received from government entities in the US were through subpoenas seeking user-identifying information under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) – “and the easiest to get because they don’t involve judges,” Google pointed out.

Another 22pc were through ECPA search warrants based on a demonstration of “probable cause” to believe that certain information related to a crime is currently in the place to be searched.

The remaining 10pc were mostly court orders issued under ECPA by judges or other processes “that are difficult to categorise.”

The US led the field with more than 21,389 user data requests, out of which 88pc resulted in data being produced.

This was followed by India, where 2,431 requests resulted in 66pc of data being produced, 1,693 requests by France (44pc of data was produced), 1,550 requests by Germany (42pc of data produced) and 1,458 requests by the UK, where 70pc of the data requested was produced.

Interestingly, Google did not log data requests by law authorities in Ireland, the Netherlands or Norway in the current report.

Loss of privacy image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years