US govt. ups request for Google user data
Google headquarters in California, the United States
A new report from the Internet giant Google shows that the US government's requests for data on Google users for the first half of 2011 have increased 29% compared to the previous six months.
The report released by Google on Wednesday shows a rise in the government requests for user account data and content removal, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to the report, in the first half of 2011, the US had the largest amount of user data requests than any other country, with 5,950 such requests pertaining to more than 11,057 separate users or accounts, to which Google complied 93 percent of the time.
One such request was made by an unnamed law enforcement agency which requested that Google remove YouTube videos of police brutality, However, Google reportedly declined the request.
The latest Google Transparency Report also shows historic traffic patterns on the company's services, indicating outages by governments to block access to Google or the internet.
Other countries seeking large user data were India, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Google says it mostly complied with the countries' requests.
Content removal requests rose in the UK by more than 70 percent in the last six months. User data requests were up 28 percent in Spain, 38 percent in Germany, 27 percent in France, and 36 percent in South Korea.
According to an online privacy advocate, Chris Soghoian the actual numbers are likely to be larger than what is reported because the law prohibits Google from revealing information on requests from intelligence agencies such as the US Department of Defense' National Security Agency or the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI).
The report also cites attempts by governments to get Google to remove content from blogs and advertisements as well.