Google reveals data request numbers

Jan. 24, 2013 at 7:35 PM
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Google says U.S. government requests for data on Google users have jumped 70 percent since 2009, culminating in 21,389 requests in the last six months of 2012.

In an update to its Transparency Report, Google said the government asked for data on 33,634 users in those six months, using subpoenas, search warrants or court orders.

"Subpoenas ... are requests for user-identifying information, issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and are the easiest to get because they typically don't involve judges," Richard Salgado, legal director of Law Enforcement and Information Security at Google, said in a blog post.

Subpoenas accounted for 68 percent of the government requests. Another 22 percent of requests were made using ECPA search warrants "based on a demonstration of 'probable cause' to believe that certain information related to a crime is presently in the place to be searched," Google said.

The remaining 10 percent were direct court orders, it said.

The six-months of data covers the time period between July and December 2012, and only covers government requests for data. Google also released information about requests to remove content, but said it has decided to release the two data sets separately, PC Magazine reported.

"We'll keep looking for more ways to inform you about government requests and how we handle them," Salgado said. "We hope more companies and governments themselves join us in this effort by releasing similar kinds of data."

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