Tag Archives: Privacy

Government surveillance using data of Google

Google’s Transparency Report showed that government surveillance of online lives is rising rapidly. In the first 6 months of this year, governments from around the world made 21,000 requests for access to Google data.
Google has been publishing a “Transparency Report” twice a year since 2009 and has observed a sharp rise in government demands for data. Top of the list was the US government who demanded data 7,969 times in the first six months of this year. As the
table below shows, India came second and Brazil third.

REQUESTS FOR USERS’ DATA

(January to June 2012)

  • United States – 7,969
  • India – 2,319
  • Brazil – 1,566
  • France – 1,546
  • Germany – 1,533
  • UK – 1,425

On the contrary, Turkey topped the list for requests to remove content. According to Google, these requests often reflect the laws on the ground. For instance, in Brazil there were a lot of requests to remove content during elections as there is a law banning parodies of candidates. The top three reasons for content removal were defamation, privacy and security.

REQUESTS FOR TAKE-DOWNS

(January to June 2012)

  • Turkey – 501
  • United States – 273
  • Germany – 247
  • Brazil – 191
  • UK – 97

Worldwide authorities made 1,789 requests for Google to remove content, up from 1,048 requests for the last six months of 2011. Turkey submitted 148 requests for the removal of data related to the first president of the country, the current government, and national identity and values. Others included claims of pornography, hate speech and copyright.

Google has its own criteria for whether it will remove content – the request must be specific, relate to a specific web address and have come from a relevant authority.

With its Transparency Report, Google aims to share how governments interact with online services and how laws are reflected in online behaviour.