Google Releases Transparency Report

By Carlton Purvis

Google received more than 21,000 requests for information on more than 33,000 users in the last six months from governments around the world, according to a report released this week.

Google releases its Transparency Report, a breakdown of requests for user data by governments, biannaually. The United States accounted for 40 percent of the total requests, according to an analysis by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

“The total numbers in the U.S. for 2012 amounted to a 33 percent increase from 2011. And while Google only complied with two-thirds of the total requests globally, they complied with 88 percent of the requests in the United States,” the EFF reports.

The most recent report also shows an increase worldwide in governments interested in Internet user information.

Requests increased 100 percent in Europe and 200 percent in the Asia-Pacific region since Google began publishing the Transparency Report. 

“The most troubling aspect of the transparency report ,” says the EFF, “about two-thirds—of U.S. government requests for user data were by subpoena, which has a much lower threshold than warrants and [does] not even require a judge’s approval. Only 1,896 of the requests also came with a probable cause warrant, and 5,784 of them came with no preliminary oversight from a judge at all.”

photo by Robert Scoble/flickr


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