Google reveals government surveillance on the rise

Report shows U.S. made more requests for user data than any other government

By Natasha Lennard
November 14, 2012 1:52AM (UTC)
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Since 2010, Google has periodically published statistics on the number of government requests the tech giant receives. Its most recent Transparency Report -- the sixth in two years -- was released Tuesday and, according to Google's official blog, "one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise."

"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," wrote Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou. In the first half of 2011, by comparison, there were fewer than 16,000 such requests.


The report also showed that the U.S. government made by far the largest number of user data requests compared to any other government (more than 16,000 requests for user data from Google on as many as 7,969 individual accounts). Google revealed that it compiled with 90 percent of the U.S. demands for user data.

The report reveals that on five instances this year, the U.S. government also requested seven YouTube videos be removed for criticizing local and state government agencies, law enforcement or public officials. "We did not remove content in response to these requests," the tech company noted.




Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Google Internet Privacy Surveillance Transparency U.s. Government