Google provides the most user data to the U.S. government, but what does that really mean?

Summary:Be careful what you read. It's not just the headlines, it's the relative data that helps provide deeper insight.

Here's an interesting chart, courtesy of our friends at Business Insider.

This chart shows how many request were made by governments to Google about Google users, and how many Google complied with.

To parse this properly, you really need to normalize the results, because the number of requests from a country like America, with 308 million people will undoubtedly be more than the U.K., with a 62 million person population.

When you first look at the chart, it seems like the U.S. government is being the most intrusive. But if you compare it with the U.K., which has only about 20% of our population, you'd expect the U.K. government to have made only 20% of the requests of the U.S.

Instead, the U.K. made about 3/5ths the number of requests as compared to the U.S. government. Population for population, therefore, the U.K. government is really almost twice as intrusive into its citizens data than the United States.

Be careful what you read. It's not just the headlines, it's the relative data that helps provide deeper insight.

Interesting stuff. Thanks to Jay Yarrow over at Business Insider for letting us run his chart.

See also: Google Transparency Report: U.S. accounts for most user data requests

Topics: Government : US, Google, Government


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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