big bro Google Transparency Report Shows Increasing Demand for User Data

Google transparency report reveals that the federal government and other police agencies have been seeking an increasing number of user data from their user services.

The latest data disclosed at Google’s Transparency Report page shows just how often governments from around the globe are looking into user data.   The data statistics provided by Google only proves that more police agencies are not just looking into personal information, but the searches are growing by the month.

According to the data in question, Google coughed up 21,389 requests for information on user data on nearly 34,000 users in the latter part of 2012 through January 2013 – this is a 17% increase from the previous year’s request.  Of those requests, 8,438 came from the U.S. federal government, which represents 40% of all requests.

In regards to actual subpoenas of personal data, the U.S. accounted for 68% of the requests and 22% of all search warrants.  The nation of India came in second at 2,431 requests, which was a 10% jump from the previous year.

Long before the Internet as we know it now was devised, the U.S. federal government passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act or ECPA.  The act specified standards in which police agencies could retrieve electronic data and communications from private individuals. 

The ECPA set in place specific warrants for different communications, however, the Internet has changed dramatically since that time, and many wire-tapping laws have changed as well.  Not long after 9/11 many laws were passed that gave the federal government the ability to access your private E-mail and other transmitted data without you knowing about it. 

With the passing of statutes such as the Patriot Act, many people saw this as the government overstepping its powers and particularly with section 215 of the act. These conflicting laws and standards on spying on Internet user data has riled up a lot of dissention with privacy rights advocates, and even some U.S. courts saw them as being illegal.

While not required to do so, Google started publishing all requests reports on-line as part of their open policy on how they share your data. Google says they will soon be offering the data on government censorship requests as a service to their users as well.