Google: 'Government surveillance is on the rise'

By Sooraj Shah
14 Nov 2012 View Comments
An eye in close-up superimposted by a screen of random numbers

Google has released its latest transparency report in which it details the extent to which public bodies have requested the removal of content and the amount of requests it has received for access to its users' private information.

Further reading

In the six months from January 2012, governments around the world made 20,938 requests for access to data from Google, showing a sharp increase in overall government demands for data; Google's first report showed only 12,539 requests (as shown in graph below).

The US government made the most demands, requesting details from Google 7,969 times, followed by India (2,319), Brazil (1,566) and France (1,546).

Google received 1,425 requests from the UK government for access to the search engine's users' private data. The tech giant complied, at least partially, with 64 per cent of the data requests.

The number of requests in the UK had decreased from 1,455 in the six months from July 2011, of which 64 per cent of the information requests were at least partly complied with.


In comparison to the UK, Google complied with a larger proportion of requests in the first six months of 2012 from other countries such as the US (90 per cent), Japan (86 per cent) and Denmark (78 per cent).

However, Google complied with fewer of the overall requests from France (44 per cent), Germany (39 per cent), and the majority of other countries.

As part of the report, Google also disclosed removal requests from government agencies and courts. In the UK, Google had two requests from law enforcement agencies to remove content online, both of which were refused.

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