India doubles Google user data requests

Summary:Over the past three years, the Indian government has more than doubled the number of times it asked for user information from Google. The U.S. government remains the top country with the most requests.

Over the past three years, the Indian government has more than doubled the number of times it requested for user information from Google.

According to the search giant's latest biannual Transparency Report, where it reveals the number of times governments and authorities asked for user data--usually to aid criminal investigations--in the six months to December 31, 2012, India was again ranked second for the total number of requests made by a single country. The United States topped the list again. 

In the second half of last year, the Indian government requested 2,431 times for Google to disclose the data of 4,106 users and accounts. Three years ago, when the first report was released, it had made 1,061 such requests.

The top five was rounded out by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. China did not feature on the list.

While the number of requests increased, the proportion of requests Google acceded to fell. The percentage of cases where the company handed over user data declined from 79 percent in the second half of 2010--when Google first reported this metric--to 66 percent in the corresponding period last year. It hovered in this range over the past 18 months.

Google only discloses information when it is required to by law. In some cases it will only disclose a single type of data, despite a request for multiple types of information, the company said.

This pattern was replicated in America which had doubled its requests over the past three years, from 3,580 disclosures to 8,438. The success rate dropped from 94 percent in the second half of 2010, to 88 percent between July and December last year.

Topics: Security, Government : Asia, Government : US, India


Mahesh Sharma earned his pen licence in his homeland, where he covered the technology industry for ZDNet, SMH, Sky Business News, and The Australian--first as an FTE, and later as a freelancer. The latter fueled his passion for startups and empowered a unique perspective on entrepreneurs' passion to solve problems using technology. Armed... Full Bio

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