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Government requests for Google data reached new highs in 2015

Engadget Engadget 19/07/2016 Devindra Hardawar
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Governments around the world sent Google 40,677 requests for user data in the second half of 2015, the highest figure the search company has ever posted in its Transparency Report. That's also a significant jump from the 35,365 requests Google saw during the first half of last year (January through June). Similarly, user accounts the company was asked to provide data on reached a record high, 81,311, compared to 68,908 in the first part of 2015. Google was one of the first companies to provide a transparency report around government data requests, starting in 2009, and since then it's spurred others to do the same.

"We're pleased with some of the improvements we've seen in surveillance laws," Google's Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security, wrote in a blog post. "The European Commission and the United States recently agreed on the Privacy Shield agreement, which includes new undertakings covering procedural protections for surveillance efforts. Earlier this year, President Obama signed the Judicial Redress Act into law, which Google stronglysupported."

While the number of data requests has steadily risen over the years, Google has actually reduced the amount of data it's given out for those requests. In the second half of 2010, the company provided data for 76 percent of requests, but it's held steady at around 64 percent since 2012.

Not surprisingly, the United States led the pack in terms of data requests, with 12,523 made during the second half of 2015. Google provided data for 79 percent of those requests, across 27,152 accounts. Germany was in second place with 7,491 requests, and France came in third with 4,174.

Google Transparency Report, Google

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