Government demands for user data have increased steadily, says Google, in the sixth edition of its Transparency Report.
In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts. The number of government requests to remove content from Google services was largely flat from 2009 to 2011. But it’s spiked in this reporting period. In the first half of 2012, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content. Google also receives falsified court orders sometimes, asking them to remove content.
Dorothy Chou (Senior Policy Analyst, Google): The information we disclose is only an isolated sliver showing how governments interact with the Internet, since for the most part we don’t know what requests are made of other technology or telecommunications companies.
You can see the country-by-country trends for requests to hand over user data and to remove content from Google services in the Transparency Report itself, but in aggregate around the world, the numbers continue to go up.
Taking Google’s lead, in the past year, companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun to share their statistics as well.
[Chart courtesy: Google]