With the latest Google Transparency Report released, it is clear that there is an increase in government requests to access user data as well as take down controversial content from Google.
Explaining the rise in government surveillance, Google made a statement at their official blog, writing, “This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.”
When broken down by individual country, the United States made the most user requests at 7969 requests while India was a distant second by making 2319 user requests. Google complied with 90 percent US government requests but only 64 percent when it came to requests from the Indian government.
Brazil, United Kingdom and Germany followed with 1625, 1455 and 1426 requests with Google complying with their requests by 90, 64 and 45 percent.
As for information takedown requests, defamation, privacy and security and government criticism were the main reasons for Google to receive these requests. Yet despite the rise of these requests, Google’s compliance has been decreasing ever since this report was first released in 2010.
While Google did partially comply with information takedown requests consisting of 160 videos made by Russia, there were other requests, in particular in Australia, where comments were made against law enforcement that they didn’t comply with.
Compared to the last report released at the end of 2011, requests from the Turkish and United Kingdom government rose by 1013 and 98 percent.