Google: government surveillance is on the rise

Summary:Governments throughout the world are making more requests than ever before for Google to turn over data about its users. One Western nation stands out.

Government surveillance is on the rise with countries throughout the world making more requests than ever before for Google user data, according to the search engine giant's latest transparency report.

Government demands for Google user data rose 33 percent to 20,938 requests in the first six months of the year, compared to the same period in 2011, the report said. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.

The U.S. made nearly 8,000 requests to Google to hand over user data between January and June 2012, at least three times more than any other national government. Google said it complied with 90 percent of the U.S. government's requests. India made 2,319 requests for data, the second-highest number behind the United States.

Google began sharing this data in early 2010. In that short time, the U.S. has doubled the number of requests to Google for user data.

Meanwhile, the number of government requests to remove content from Google's services, such as YouTube, spiked in the first half of 2012. The number of requests was largely flat between 2009 and 2011, Google said. In the first six months of the year, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.

Graphics: Google

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter.

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